& cplSiteName &

T-Mobile: Going Bananas for Low-Band

Dan Jones
3/10/2014
50%
50%

T-Mobile is poised to get its hands on 700MHz 4G spectrum from Verizon later this year that it says will enable it to offer better in-building, suburban, and rural coverage over time.

The 700MHz A-Band spectrum that T-Mobile US Inc. bought from Verizon Wireless for $2.4 billion this January was a main topic for executives from the carrier at the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet & Telecom Conference Monday. (See T-Mobile Spends $2.4B on Verizon Spectrum .)

"We're very confident we'll close in Q2... So we can start offering service within the year," said T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray. " 'Fifteen will be a much larger year than 14 but we'll get started in 14."

The 700MHz A-Band spectrum will allow T-Mobile to improve in-building coverage in dense urban areas and add coverage in suburban fringe and rural areas more economically than it could with the AWS (1700/2100MHz) and PCS (1900MHz) spectrum it already holds. "It's not cost effective to build out in these vast geographies with high-band or medium-band," Ray said.

The spectrum covers 70% of T-Mobile's existing customer base and 158 million PoPs. This includes nine out of the top 10 markets and 21 of the top 30 markets, he said.

Just as he told Light Reading in January, Ray has initial markets in mind where the 700MHz service will start towards the end of the year. These include Philadelphia, Dallas, Houston, Miami, and Minneapolis. (See T-Mobile CTO: On the Road to Low-Band.)

The CTO will also try and work around potential interference problems with Channel 51 TV broadcasters in affected areas, such as New York. For instance, Ray said, he can still deploy a network in parts of Long Island even if New York City is out for now and boost that prized "suburban fringe" coverage. (See T-Mobile: Channel-51 Interference a Non-Issue.)

The operator is also hoping to buy more A-Band and get potentially get more low-band 600MHz spectrum in the planned mid-2015 incentive auction from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) .

T-Mobile made it clear that it considers the auction a milestone for the wireless industry. "There needs to be adequate regulatory protections to ensure the duopolists do not come out with all the spectrum again," T-Mobile CFO Braxton Carter told the conference crowd.

And just like the banana distribution industry, the CFO believes that three major competitors -- not four -- is the magic number for major mobile operators in the US. "It's not a question of if, it's a question of when," Braxton said when asked about the prospects for consolidation in the industry.

"To take a third-scale national player that has the scale benefits with the right business model could be very competitively enhancing," the CFO suggested. There has been talk of a T-Mobile-Sprint tie-up but the FCC appears to be downbeat about that combination. (See Tough Road Ahead for Sprint/T-Mobile?)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

(15)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
SachinEE
50%
50%
SachinEE,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/23/2014 | 4:14:32 AM
Re : T-Mobile: Going Bananas for Low-Band
@ danielcawrey, advertising does play a much bigger role than the technical details of spectrums etc. Regarding your second point, different people have different preferences. Some people prefer speed over cost while others do the opposite. But there are considerable number of people who would like to sacrifice some speed in favor of cost.
SachinEE
50%
50%
SachinEE,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/20/2014 | 2:53:35 PM
Re : T-Mobile: Going Bananas for Low-Band
@ Dan, you are right, it seems logical. T-Mobile seems to have this understanding very clearly that they can't take on AT & T or Verizon alone. If they try to do so it will leave the equation like two big and two medium or small fish. They would rather like to be counted as third big fish even if it comes as a result of partnership with some other carrier.
danielcawrey
50%
50%
danielcawrey,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/11/2014 | 1:35:56 PM
Re: "Yes, we have no bananas."
It's hard to believe that on the marketing side of things. Consumers don't care where the spectrum comes from. All they see is the advertising. T-Mobile has wowed more people in that way - also by being different.

You would also be surprised at the number of people who would take the reduced cost of T-Mobile over faster data. Not everyone will do that, but many will. 
DHagar
50%
50%
DHagar,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/11/2014 | 12:48:08 PM
T-Mobile: Going Bananas for Low-Band
@Sarah, I am thinking mobile markets.  To address your other post as well, I see T-Mobile as playing a "strategic" game in finding a specific niche that they think they can win at.  They will either win or lose - then maybe bananas.  If they really have a clear strategy and can pull it off, I think they can win.

DHagar
DanJones
50%
50%
DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
3/11/2014 | 11:54:16 AM
Re: It's not about scale
True enough. Although T-Mobile didn't do so badly cutting deals w/ private providers for fiber backhaul once it got HSPA+ going...
spc_isdnip
50%
50%
spc_isdnip,
User Rank: Lightning
3/11/2014 | 11:51:52 AM
It's not about scale
T-Mobile and Sprint are disadvantaged because they don't own the backhaul wires; AT&T and VZ do, and scratch each others' backs to the disadvantage of the smaller players.  Nothing but regulated special access (writ large, revoking forbearance from Carrier Ethernet) pricing can fix that.

A 3-carrier market screws MVNOs badly.  The big two players sell direct.  Players 3 and 4 accept wholesale.  A 3-carrier market makes #3 bigger and less interested in wholesale, with no competition for it.  The market thus loses all of the innovation that comes from MVNOs.  Bad for consumers, though a modest ain for shareholders.  Of course we know who controls Washington.
DanJones
50%
50%
DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
3/11/2014 | 11:06:31 AM
Re: "Yes, we have no bananas."
I'm not convinced that T-Mobile expect a merger to happen any time soon. "Sooner or later" is proably the important element to Braxton's words.

They can *probably* afford to play a slightly longer game and see what happens when the next changing of the guard happens at the FCC.
Sarah Thomas
50%
50%
Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
3/11/2014 | 11:03:30 AM
Re: T-Mobile: Going Bananas for Low-Band
hmm okay. Are you talking about the mobile market or banana market?
Sarah Thomas
50%
50%
Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
3/11/2014 | 11:02:29 AM
Re: "Yes, we have no bananas."
T-Mobile has also always assumed it will be their brand that takes hold, not Sprint's, although that's probably fair given the success the Uncarrier strategy has had relative to Sprint's struggling band. But, is Sprint too big and well entrenched to be treated as a pile of spectrum, as T-Mo once said?
DHagar
50%
50%
DHagar,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/10/2014 | 9:43:35 PM
T-Mobile: Going Bananas for Low-Band
@Dan, sounds like a smart move with a well thought-out business model.  Someone focused on filling the gaps and creating a good package designed for the right markets may just have the right combination.

DHagar
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
From The Founder
Kicking off BCE 2017, Light Reading founder Steve Saunders lays blame for NFV's slow ramp-up and urges telecom to return to old-fashioned standards building and interoperability.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink: Let's Get Past SD-WAN Hype

6|23|17   |   04:02   |   (0) comments


Technology becomes a "shiny object" unless it's properly focused on solving business needs for enterprise customers, says Bill Grubbs, network solutions architect for CenturyLink. He explains to Light Reading why SD-WAN deployments have to be tailored to specific needs – and more.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Infinera's Sales Director Paints Tech's Big Picture

6|21|17   |   4:14   |   (1) comment


Shannon Williams, Infinera's director of sales, shares how she achieves work's many balancing acts -- between her role and the broader company, today and tomorrow's tech and more.
LRTV Custom TV
SD-WAN Innovation & Trends

6|20|17   |     |   (0) comments


Versa CEO Kelly Ahuja discusses with Carol Wilson the current status and trends in the SD-WAN market, Versa's innovation around building a software platform with broad contextualization, and the advantages that startups can bring to the SD-WAN market.
LRTV Interviews
Ovum's Dario Talmesio on 5G in Europe

6|20|17   |   02:16   |   (0) comments


At 5G World 2017, Dario Talmesio, principal analyst and practice leader on Ovum's fixed and mobile telecoms European team, explains the emerging trends amongst European operators as they prepare for 5G.
LRTV Custom TV
Putting Power on a Pedestal

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


ARRIS's John Ulm says a major accomplishment of SCTE•ISBE's Energy 2020 program is increased focus on power cost and consumption, including inclusion of energy requirements in operators' RFPs and RFIs.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit Access: The Last-Mile Pipe for All Future Services

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


A Gigabit access platform being deployed today must be able to deliver all types of services to an increasing number of devices. A non-blocking architecture is necessary to support the ever-increasing growth in bandwidth demand. The Huawei Gigabit access solution is based on a distributed design that is fully scalable to deliver a unprecedented performance.
LRTV Custom TV
Key Factors to Successfully Deploy an SD-WAN Service

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


As service providers transition their SD-WAN solution from trials and limited deployments into production at large scale, there are important considerations to successfully operationalize these solutions and realize their full potential, without adding complexity, introducing uncertainty or disrupting current business operations. Sunil Khandekar, CEO and Founder ...
LRTV Custom TV
IoT Solutions: Rational Exuberance

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


IoT solutions are morphing from hype into viable business opportunities. Huawei has the platform and ecosystem support to help carriers successfully address new business opportunities in the IoT space.
LRTV Custom TV
Realizing ICN as a Network Slice for Mobile Data Distribution

6|19|17   |     |   (1) comment


Network slicing in 5G allows the potential introduction of new network architectures such as Information-centric Networks (ICN) as a slice, managed over a shared pool of compute, storage and bandwidth resource. Services over an ICN slice can benefit from many architectural features such as Name Based Networking, Security, Multicasting, Multi-homing, Mobility, ...
LRTV Interviews
Ovum's Mike Roberts on 5G Uptake

6|19|17   |   04:08   |   (0) comments


Mike Roberts, research director for Ovum's service provider markets group, explains why he has boosted his 5G subscriptions forecast.
LRTV Interviews
AT&T's Hubbard on Intersection of SD-WAN & MPLS

6|15|17   |     |   (0) comments


Rick Hubbard, SVP of Network Product Management for AT&T Business Solutions, discusses how AT&T's approach to SD-WAN fits in with its overall virtualization strategy, explains how SD-WAN can improve enterprise customers' use of the cloud and addresses the intersection of SD-WAN and MPLS.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Keep Connected IoT Devices Under Control With Allot

6|15|17   |     |   (0) comments


Allot AVP of International Pre-Sales, Daniel Keidar, explains how communications service providers can protect infrastructure and service availability from flooding attacks caused by malfunctioning or bot-infected devices connected to their network.
Upcoming Live Events
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Netflix's Lesson in Culture Expectation Settings
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 6/21/2017
No Imagination: UK Chip Biz Goes Up for Sale
Iain Morris, News Editor, 6/22/2017
Kalanick Steps Down as Uber CEO
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 6/21/2017
BT Tech Chief Makes Plea to 5G Chip Vendors
Ray Le Maistre, International Group Editor, 6/20/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.