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5G

T-Mobile to use 5G capacity to pry enterprise customers from AT&T, Verizon

T-Mobile's executives argue that AT&T and Verizon command more than 90% of the enterprise market, and they're hoping to use T-Mobile's growing 5G network to entice some of those customers away.

The operator's latest effort to lever into the enterprise market is called "WFX," or work-from-anywhere, and includes three specific elements:

  • Unlimited smartphone data plans that – like T-Mobile's new Magenta MAX plans for consumers – do not include monthly data usage limits. However, T-Mobile said it will reduce video streaming resolution to 480p quality and may slow customers' connections after they use more than 50GB of data in a month. Further, customers will only be able to use 10GB of high-speed mobile hotspot data before their speeds are slowed. Importantly, T-Mobile also said it would match or beat pricing from AT&T and Verizon for enterprise customers.
  • Dedicated fixed wireless Internet services for employees working at home. The offering, dubbed T-Mobile Home Office, is an enterprise version of the Home Internet service T-Mobile has been testing for more than a year. "T-Mobile's Home Office Internet does not replace or compete with your personal home broadband Wi-Fi," explained T-Mobile's Mike Katz during a media event Thursday. He said the product is intended for remote workers who are sharing their home Internet connection with other family members. He added that T-Mobile Home Office would include security services and priority access for enterprise applications. "This is designed as a single, nationwide solution, which means no more patchwork procurement to piece together multiple, regional services to cover your employees," he added. However, T-Mobile cautioned that the enterprise offering will only cover 60 million households initially until expanding to 90 million households by 2025. There are around 128 million total households in the US.
  • Enterprise messaging and collaboration applications based on cloud services from Dialpad. T-Mobile confirmed it made a "multimillion dollar" investment in Dialpad as part of the companies' new agreement. Dubbed T-Mobile Collaborate, the offering includes various voice, chat and videoconferencing services, as well as support for applications like Microsoft 365.

In its media event, T-Mobile touted early WFX customers, including retailer Nordstrom and the city of Los Angeles.

Ultimately, T-Mobile is positioning its new 5G network as the underlying impetus for its new WFX offerings. "T-Mobile WFX is made possible by T-Mobile's 5G network, the nation's largest and fastest, and these new services demonstrate 5G's ability to solve today's problems and the power of T-Mobile's Ultra Capacity 5G to unleash new experiences," the company wrote in a release.

Some analysts argued that T-Mobile's 5G efforts are starting to bear fruit. "The changes message that T-Mobile has ample network capacity, and is the place to go to actually use 5G," wrote the financial analysts at Evercore in a note to investors following the release of the carrier's new Magenta MAX 5G data plans.

Others agreed. "For T-Mobile, business and government is an increasingly exciting growth opportunity because T-Mobile has a small share (<10%) and an accelerating value proposition through 4G near-parity and inflecting 5G leadership," wrote the financial analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. shortly after T-Mobile's WFX announcement.

Indeed, T-Mobile has reported significant progress in its efforts to expand and improve its 5G network. The operator initially deployed 5G in its lowband, 600MHz spectrum, although early speeds weren't much faster than those available on its 4G network. More recently though, the operator has been working to deploy 5G on the 2.5GHz midband spectrum it obtained through its acquisition of Sprint. T-Mobile has touted speeds on that spectrum around 300 Mbit/s with peaks of up to 1 Gbit/s. T-Mobile's midband 2.5GHz 5G network, dubbed by the carrier as "Ultra Capacity," is available to more than 100 million people today, and T-Mobile hopes to double that number by the end of 2021.

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Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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