T-Mobile Sounds Off on Verizon 5G, LTE-U Frustrations

T-Mobile executives spoke out on Verizon's fixed wireless 5G plans and their own frustrations around LTE-Unlicensed on the operator's first-quarter earnings call Tuesday.

As he has before, T-Mobile US Inc. CEO John Legere took aim at the claims from rival Verizon Wireless around delivering 5G in 2017. He noted that Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam had initially suggested his company would start delivering commercial 5G in 2017: Now the talk is of a 5G fixed wireless pilot. (See Verizon Hits 1-Gig+ in 5G Trials, Eyes Early Applications and Verizon CEO: US Commercial 5G Starts in 2017.)

"I think that's been walked back to maybe some fixed wireless application," Legere said during the typically lengthy Q&A session Tuesday.

"That 5G bluster they've been putting into the marketplace is actually really about home broadband," suggested COO Mike Sievert.

Neville Ray, T-Mobile's CTO, took time out to remind analysts on the call that whatever happens with 5G, LTE will be a major force in mobile broadband for years to come. "In the next two to three years ... LTE-Advanced is going to be the workhorse and ... we will lead," Ray said.

This doesn't mean that all is perfect in the kingdom of LTE for T-Mobile. The operator had wanted to deploy commercial LTE-Unlicensed in 2016 and still hopes to do so. "We're frustrated," Ray said. (See T-Mobile Plans LTE-U With ALU, Qualcomm.)

"Based on [what] we are seeing from a regulatory perspective ... the light is dimming there a little," Ray suggested. (See Operators, Vendors Advise FCC on LTE-U.)

T-Mobile reported first-quarter revenues of $8.6 billion, up by 10.6% year-on-year, and added 2.2 million customers to take its total to 65.5 million. See this official release for more details.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

DanJones 4/27/2016 | 3:47:31 PM
Re: Neville Ray is a risky deal Really? Got any proof that Ray "has the power to approve and develop incompatible standards between carriers."  I'd love to hear about it. Feel free to email me. [email protected]

4G Americas has re-branded as 5G Americas now:


VernonDozier 4/27/2016 | 1:14:46 PM
Neville Ray is a risky deal Verizon should study strategic errors which Sprint made.  Sprint, along with Comcast, Brighthouse, Google, and others, developed the WiMax 4G standard; which was incompatible with other wireless technologies.

Later, AT&T deployed HSPA, which ran at 14.4MB/s..

Only after AT&T announced it's support for HSPA, did the 3GPP partnership announce HSPA+ which ran at 40MB/s.  T-Mobile is an international carrier, but Neville Ray uses 4GAmericas in a sneaky way that doesn't benefit the wireless industry. 

After all, 4G Americas is a wireless industry trade association; whom represents 3GPP family of standards, including GSM.  Neville Ray is Chariman of 4G Americas.  He has the power to approve and develop incompatible standards between carriers.  

It is also very likely one of the reasons DishNetwork hasn't selected a wireless technology yet.   Verizon should be in the driver's seat at 3GPP/3GAmericas.  They have more customers that can benefit from standards harmonization.
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