T-Mobile CFO Braxton Carter talks 700MHz acquisitions, says distribution will expand to another 30M to 40M POPs

tmobilemagentatower

Over the past week or so, many details of T-Mobile’s recent 700MHz acquisitions have come out. Now CFO Braxton Carter has touched a bit more on the spectrum and the benefits that it’ll bring.

Speaking at a recent investor conference, Carter said that T-Mobile has the chance to significantly grow its distribution where it currently has no presence. “We now cover 305 million people in the US with our 4G LTE footprint, and we think right now we have the opportunity to expand our distribution into another 30 to 40 million POPs here in the US where we have zero penetration,” the CFO said. He explained that while T-Mobile has nationwide advertising, its marketing footprint is around 230 million people because you have to be “completely relevant” in an area to put distribution in place.

Carter added that T-Mobile is working to deploy its newly acquired spectrum quickly. Of its new 700MHz spectrum, around one-third has channel 51 interference, but Carter is confident that T-Mo will get it cleared. “But remember, a lot of the skepticism of the A Block was, ‘How can you really clear that? We cleared that first 190 million all within one year,” Carter said. He went on to explain that T-Mo had little difficulty clearing 700MHz spectrum that it bought from Verizon in 2014. “So yeah, we think we’ll be able to roll out the majority of what we just bought this year.”

T-Mobile’s 700MHz has been big for the carrier, not only helping to expand its coverage but also giving the service better building penetration. And with its newly acquired 700MHz coverage, it’s going to gain some presence in markets where it’s not yet established. That means we’ll see some new stores, too, with up to 400 new retail stores expected to pop up. T-Mobile has told FierceWireless that most of those new shops will be managed by third-parties.

Via: FierceWireless
Source: Morgan Stanley

Tags: , , ,

  • kgraham182

    Now that most of the cities have native T-Mobile coverages, the last 20M or so POP will be the hardest to cover. Good luck Tmo

    • Bryant

      There’s a point where covering every single person is not worth the money and you have to charge out the a** to get it done (Verizon). If T-Mo needed to add one new tower to cover 10 people, they probably won’t do it. If it were me, I’d leave Verizon to cover those remaining “20M or so” to increase my profit margins and/or keep prices low. Of course, I’d like to see 100% of the US covered with T-Mo, but I’m not going to hold my breath. I’d rather pay less money than have coverage in the middle of Wyoming or North Dakota (no offense to those who live there!).

      • Durandal_1707

        FWIW, Verizon didn’t build out that coverage in Wyoming or North Dakota either. They bought out those networks from smaller regional carriers that actually had a stake in covering those areas. Sure they eventually upgraded the towers to LTE, but they had nothing to do with the actual buildout.

        • Bryant

          Fair enough. So, they kinda had it handed to them? Yes, they got to it first, but I think Tmo is putting up a good fight as the underdog, and as starting basically from scratch.

      • Jay J. Blanco

        Verizon has like 30 Roaming partners they didn’t do it alone and tmobile is following trail is economically better like in Iowa…. Verizon isn’t dumb they leased their spectrum and let smaller carriers upgrade they just fund some of it.

        • marque2

          When I lived in Iowa there weren’t any T-Mobile stores. US cellar ruled Iowa.

        • Jay J. Blanco

          Of course I believe that tmobile has mid band there… not a good experience vs U.S. Cellular who has low band throughout the whole state.

        • marque2

          I bet they are building up the lower band there now. But yeah Iowa is an excellent state for lower band application. Low band is really between 30-300 kHz vs the 700mhz low frequency the cellcos are using. Low band is for really scratchy 2 way radios, little building penetration, but on light rolling hills the signal travels forever (very far). Rural cops used to use low band.

        • dave73

          The reason T-Mobile has no stores in Iowa, is because they have T-Mobile affiliate, i-Wireless serving Iowa. If T-Mobile really wanted to serve Iowa, they would have to buy out i-Wireless. That was what Sprint had to do when they bought out Nextel; they had to buy out their affiliates, in order to get rid of the lawsuits. iPCS was the last holdout before they eventually got bought out by Sprint, in order to retain Nextel.

        • marque2

          Interesting. That makes sense though, thx.

      • YABD

        Tmobile only cover downtowns and wherever you have wifi.

        • Bryant

          In other words, where people live.

        • Jay J. Blanco

          That’s not true as of last year

      • marque2

        It’s a mixed bag. I have to say T-Mobile is much better than it used to be, but I have to say, if you occasionally travel out of a city it can get frustrating, like the time all my credit cards went dead and it was 300 miles to the nearest city with T-Mobile coverage on I-20 a major freeway.

        I think they should do a bit of work with the long range 700mhz to cover all the freeways and then maybe some of the more major highways (eg i395) which have major gaps in coverage. Note though on 395 I drove over Christmas and they have about 2/3 of it covered now, vs 1/3 a few years back.

        • dtam

          I’d agree, concentrate on major highways and beef up existing towers. Really not worth building out a new network where there isn’t any coverage now.

        • Jay J. Blanco

          Actually tmobile has been building out there network especially in South Carolina I use to travel to Chesterfield and roam all day now they have native coverage so they had to build new towers

        • Jay J. Blanco

          I actually traveled I-20 last night and had LTE the whole way from Fayetteville to Columbia, SC… better yet Virginia Beach to Columbia…

        • marque2

          This is about 3 years ago and I was driving from San Diego to Dallas, as soon as crossed the Texas border my credit cards turned off. There was no signal from El Paso to Midland and I needed gas. Fortunately I had a VOIP phone set up so I could use a hotel WIFi to make a call to reactivate a card in Van Dorn TX. Luckily I tried to stay that hotel in Van Dorn, where I had to pay cash. Otherwise I would have been stranded.

        • Jay J. Blanco

          Oh ok Yeah I hated those days on tmobile but I stuck in

      • Isaiah

        The problem is that most customers will not come to any carrier in the USA that does not cover everywhere either with Native or Roaming Coverage. That is why AT&T and Verizon hold the number 1 and 2 spot. T Mobile USA needs to expand with 700 and 600 bands, lease or build cell sites to add or improve signal, and make a roaming agreements in area’s that cost to much to add service to.

        • Jay J. Blanco

          That’s exactly what they are doing they have many roaming partners using spectrum and deploying it in many rural areas. Smart move on tmobiles part. they haven’t announced any yet but I’m sure it’ll come to the light soon

        • John Wentworth

          I don’t actually think it’s the missing coverage in Wyoming or North Dakota. I think it’s the few spotty areas in their local areas.

          I said this earlier I love my unlimited T-mobile service, theirs really no where in NJ that isn’t “covered”, where I spend 99.9% of my time.
          And the value can’t be beat.

          But their’s a few dead spots in big buildings where you have to go outside to get a signal. It’s very infrequent in my usage and most of the time I can hop on WiFi and get what I need. It would probably be solved when they deploy their 700 Mhz spectrum here, one or two friends of mine have left t-mobile because of these small issues.
          Other more data hungry users understand the immense value.

          It’s really the sitting in the local diner with a few people and being the one person who has no signal that costs them customers. Not the lack of covering 100% of the the US.

      • guest

        I was thinking, there should be a national roaming frequency for calls and texts, that all the carriers networks could fall back to. It could be run by the carriers themselves, one area one carrier, another the other and so on.

        All these for the too expensive to cover areas.

  • walt

    how many people does sprint, verizon and ATT currently cover (POPs)

    • BreakingData

      According to their website VZW covers 312 Million via LTE, Not sure on the others.

      • Walt

        On ATT website. Theyre at 320 million total and 308 LTE.

    • kgraham182

      Going off Wikipedia. Sprint has 270M POP for LTE down from 280M. Verizon has 312M and AT&T has 300M but that was reported in 2014. T-Mobile uses POPs cause the numbers looks closers to Dumb & Dumbers but if you switch the criteria to sq. miles covered, T-Mobile is far behind.

      • chrsstj4

        Oh yeah, you are right. Verizon covers 2.3 million sq. Miles. TMO still has ways to go geographically to match Verizon.

  • Bradley Karas

    They need to add more towers to the already covered areas…tired of losing coverage in spots where it’s supposed to be

    • Walt

      What kinda phone do you have?

      • Bradley Karas

        iPhone 6s Plus…notoriously bad antennas! It’s ok I jumped to the S7 edge

        • Isaiah

          I would personally avoid iphones on T Mobile unless you are planning on staying in urban areas with good signal. Due to the fact apple iphone have poor antennas that do not work as good as other phones in low or poor signal areas.

        • Bradley Karas

          Yeah I know…I thought maybe they would correct that problem but I guess it’s android again

        • Isaiah

          Their is not much T Mobile can do they can not make apple use a good quality cellular antenna in their phones.

        • dtam

          “you are holding it the wrong way”

        • Bradley Karas

          Hahahahahahaha thats what he said

    • YABD

      T-mobile only cover big metro areas, the rest is a joke. I work in a transportation company and our manager posted: prohibited drivers going out of metro areas with a T-mobile service.

      • Bradley Karas

        It’s not THAT bad they just need to keep adding towers

        • Acdc1a

          I travel the country. I’ve been without service just one time, Ocracoke, NC. It’s as simple as roaming agreements…

        • Bradley Karas

          I agree! I should have just said “LTE connectivity”

        • Raiterio Patterson

          As a North Carolinian I am skeptical T-Mobile could get LTE to Orcacoke but then again, most of the coast has service

      • Matt

        I work for a transportation company too but I still get decent service and I’m in Eastern PA. Sounds like your boss is a moron. He should know that sometimes you have to go to areas where you lose signal.

        • Bradley Karas

          Yeah I’m not saying that ignorant crap…depends on what constitutes “no service” I am more talking from a data standpoint than just making calls and texting I can always do that for the most part. Maybe I should have said “LTE connectivity”

    • guest

      To be precise, do you lose signal or are you missing calls and having slow data?

      • Bradley Karas

        Losing signal in areas that are supposed to be covered

        • guest

          I was having issues with LTE and signal too. Sometimes LTE disappears and with 4G (UMTS) I only see 2 signal bars.

          Today i noticed that when I send a short code LTE disappears for some seconds and then comes back.

          The day after the Great Outage, when I made a call LTE would disappear for the duration of the call. My solution to that was restarting the phone.

          I have an LG Android phone that worked fine for the past year up until a month ago, when I started noticing slower speeds.

  • guest

    I’d like to know and compare miles of coverage instead of POPs.

    I’d like to know what caused the outage.

    I’d like to see average speed maps, to know what areas are more congested.

    I’d like to see CA maps.

    • Sam Schultz

      Just wanted to let you know from internal tmobile the outage was from a lower problem on the east coast that caused massive congestion in the total aggregate network. As the entire network tried to compensate for the traffic it got out of control. The outage was resolved quickly. As far as congestion check with your local corporate retail store we have access to a coverage map that is far more accurate and detailed as it shows crowd sourced info. It shows coverage, band support, and expected/normal levels of congestion for the area.

      • guest

        Thanks for your reply.

  • John Wentworth

    I love my T-mobile service and unlimited data plan, but I’m a little disappointed by their 700 Mhz rollout, the NJ area was cleared for deployment in like July, Philly has tons of 700 Mhz coverage and NYC 700 Mhz coverage is growing quickly.
    But as for NJ between those two cities not much 700 Mhz deployment, I’ve seen it maybe once or twice in the Monmouth and Middlesex areas.
    I was hoping for quick deployment to mitigate the occasional big building coverage gap that exists with T-mobile, but it seems like they are really focusing on the core of cites and expanding coverage in really rural markets.

    Suburban markets with pretty good coverage aren’t high on their priority list it seems, which makes sense logically, but still is disappointing. Hope to see more deployments in my area.

  • Mark Kendrick

    I recently left T-mobile after a short stint due to coverage issues where i live, I would constantly switch between edge, 4G and LTE within just a block or two. Also for some reason the average LTE speed were pretty slow, slower than AT&T 4G speeds. I’m hoping that once band 12 reaches my city these issues will be resolved and I can return to T-Mobile. Despite a couple of customer service issues I would return if the coverage was right but not until then.

  • Steve Park

    What are you doing to get the television station off of the 700 block. I live in the Louisville MSA where station 58 takes up that block for half of central KY and Southern Indiana.

    • Joe Hartley

      I’m in Louisville too, I’m sure they are doing what they did in other markets working with the FCC and the station to get them on a frequency that wouldn’t interfere with the spectrum they bought. I think we will have to wait until after the 600mhz auction before much is done with this though.

  • vinnyjr

    Live in Massachusetts where T-Mobile was blocked by TV station issues. T-Mobile worked that out and have been seeing Band 12 popping up. T-Mobile will get it done. Great Job T-Mobile.