T-Mobile CFO talks plans for Sprint network following merger


After suggesting last month that the proposed merger of T-Mobile and Sprint could close as soon as Q1 2019, T-Mobile CFO Braxton Carter recently touched a bit more on the deal.

Carter recently explained that T-Mobile is “applying the same philosophy” with the Sprint merger as it did when it acquired MetroPCS. “The playbook that we did with Metro, it wasn’t combining two networks. It was shutting one network down and extracting some assets (from) that network to enhance the T-Mobile network,” he said.

The process would begin with new customers visiting Sprint stores, who would be signed up for T-Mobile plans rather than a Sprint plan. When T-Mobile’s network had enough capacity, it would begin moving Sprint customers over to the T-Mo network.

Carter then explained that T-Mobile would eventually shut down Sprint’s network once those customers were moved over, enabling them to close select cell sites and reallocate spectrum. The CFO said that T-Mobile would consolidate spectrum and close Sprint cell sites on a city-by-city basis. “If you don’t do it right, you’ll end up losing a lot of customers,” Carter added.

Carter also recently said that a combined Sprint and T-Mobile would have a eight-fold increase in capacity and 15-fold increase in speeds, echoing statements that he’s previously made about the merger. “Basic economics is if you have that increase in capacity, you are economically [incentivized] to fill that capacity,” the T-Mobile CFO said of the propsed Sprint merger. “We have massive fixed costs and leveraging those fixed costs to expand margins and have an appropriate return on the $40 billion we’re going to put into the network in the next three years is a huge basic, economic reality and thrust that supports this will be highly competitive to the U.S.”

The T-Mobile-Sprint merger is currently being reviewed by the FCC and DoJ, the former of which recently resumed the 180-day shot clock on its review of the deal. T-Mo recently submitted a new filing to the FCC with a focus on the claim that it needs to merge with Sprint in order to be more competitive with AT&T and Verizon, which some analysts suggested could be because regulators weren’t very receptive to T-Mobile’s previous arguments for the deal. However, it’s unclear how the regulators will come down on the deal.

Based on what we’ve heard of the deal and the arguments for and against it, do you think the T-Mobile-Sprint merger will be approved by regulators?

Sources: Puget Sound Business Journal, RCRWireless

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  • Glenn Gore

    Since Sprint’s network’s reach and coverage area is only a tiny fraction the size of T-Mobile’s, about the only benefit of it to T-Mobile would be the addition of capacity in those places where their networks do overlap. Here in the western half of Oklahoma, Sprint never built anything except one narrow little string of sites along I-40 while T-Mobile covers the entire half of the state very well with 600 MHz, so there would be little added benefit, but in some places the added sites and broadcast capability would be great additions to T-Mobile coverage and site density.

    • JStatt

      Not true. There’s way more to the deal than national coverage, but even so when you look at the licenses that sprint holds, they can cover more than t-Mobile (at least pre-600mhz). The problem is Sprint doesn’t have the capital to spend to invest in building out the licensed coverage that they have. In addition, Sprint holds a good amount of 28mhz and other frequencies that T-Mo does not have. In terms of 5G deployment, they definitely need Sprints spectrum to adequately compete with the big two.

    • slybacon

      Sprint owns tons of nationwide spectrum. They just didn’t have the resources to deploy it. T-Mobile will deploy it using fifth generation wireless tech.

      • Glenn Gore

        That’s why T-Mobile will not have much instant-increase in coverage area with the merger, they will have to decide where to use that idle spectrum and how much to deploy. I have no doubt that T-Mobile would put Sprint’s unused spectrum to full use quickly. They are not known for letting their spectrum just sit there idle not doing anyone any good, and I applaud them for doing that. Of course, this is subject to FCC approval and conditions of the merger that may require T-Mobile to divest some of that spectrum across the country. We will see how this plays out and what effect it has.

    • disqus_9vDXY3mW9c

      Plus, instead of a cheap sounding metro pcs name , sprint is more marketable . Sprint will be reborn into a prepaid powerhouse.

  • Brett S

    This is what I have been saying. Sprint won’t be merged it will be shut down. There’s no value there.

    • TheCudder

      How else do you merge two companies into ONE using different technologies and different LTE bands? The merger is about spectrum and funding…they’ve always planned to continue on as T-Mobile post-merger. Sprint’s infrastructure will be used to make “new” T-Mobile’s infrastructure more powerful…which for customers, equals A LOT of value.

    • slybacon

      And you have been right all along. T-Mobile has always been planning to shut down Sprint’s CDMA network. That will leave Verizon as the only CDMA network in the world. Something to say there. But, there is huge value in combining assets to one technology like TheCudder explain below.

      • marque2

        LTE is GSM. Verizon will shut down CDMA when all its customers get 4g LTE and probably when 5g starts getting big.

        • slybacon

          LTE only supports data. GSM & CDMA support cellular and data. They are different. Verizon (and others) will shut down CDMA and GSM when everyone can make phone calls on VoLTE or Vo5G (made the last one up!).

        • Yo


      • JG

        That will leave Verizon as the only CDMA network in the world.

        Actually, T-Mobile might be the sole CDMA network.

        Verizon stopped activating CDMA only devices over the summer and plans to have their CDMA network down by the end of 2019. Sprint was planning on having theirs down by 2021.

        It took T-Mobile around 2 years to get MetroPCS off CDMA. Considering the transfer won’t start until probably around April, that would give T-Mobile just 8 months to get all legacy Sprint devices transferred over.

        Of course this time, they have an advantage that there are probably a fair number of devices out there that already support both carrier’s frequencies. They’d just need to push an OTA update to Pixel and iPhone users to get them to talk to T-Mobile towers in addition to/rather than Sprint’s.

        • Yo

          there will be no 5G UE with cdma capability for any provider

    • disqus_9vDXY3mW9c

      the value is in sprint’s customer database.

      • Brett S

        How do you figure? For the last five years they’ve been signing up people on free plans. When a company is known for the worst coverage, oldest technology, and worst service, the only thing that’s left is price. And even literally giving away service they STILL continue to lose market share. Really amazing when you think about it.

        • JG

          For the last five years they’ve been signing up people on free plans

          Free plans as in free forever or just for a year or so?

          Could be nice to grab a free Sprint account (or several) and hold onto it through the merger… If New T-Mobile honors the pricing… AMAZING, free T-Mobile. If not, oh well, it was worth a try.

        • Brett S

          Of course it’s not free forever. The point is that their reputation is so bad they can’t even give it away.

        • disqus_9vDXY3mW9c

          Yes but i think the name sprint is more marketable than t-mobile’s metro pcs. I think metro pcs will dissolve into sprint and relaunched. Since sprint actually has a fingerprint across the country, its more cost effective to upgrade existing towers. The customer base will be interested enough to stay for the data speed upgrade and additional coverage for a very nice premium plan .

          From what i understand that free plan you mentioned just started in 2017 but i think the possibility to ween those folks off the tit will pay dividends with upgrades and more. For example, that sprint premium plan would be amazing on tmobile network. The database would be better off on tmobile. Like i said, t mobile sees value in customers paying almost 100 per line. Theirs is 70 max.

  • spierce617

    Sprint also has the Nextel line that they are still using. To the average person it is nothing. There are businesses that are still using this. If they expand this also it would be big for business.

    • Brett S

      Zero chance.

  • Sharti24

    They Need to go to an all LTE network once they merge. But they wont, they will probably still keep 2G because “it’s in the guard bands”. Who cares, i dont want my phone connecting to that crap ever. (I have an iphone so no i cant select LTE only mode)


    Tmobile is an influencer and a market disruptive company it is the same company that canceled contracts and brought back unlimited and forced everybody in the the industry to follow suit. The merger can only make tmobile more influential and tmobile has the track record to prove it. 5 yrs ago when t-mobile had 12-14 mil subscribers there was no unlimited data and no hope of getting unlimited and because of T-Mobile policies and its uncarrier moves now is a company of 73 mil subscribers and growing almost half the customer base of att or Verizon. Tmobile invests heavily in wireless infrastructure and promotes last mile access to millions of disinfranshised rural customers some of whom have recently been dropped by the likes of Verizon. The sprint acquisition will enable tmobile to use unused MM wave spectrum and 2500+Mhz spectrum to increase bandwidth for urban and suburban dwellers projecting a speed increase that will rival att, Verizon and cable companies and give them a run for their money with projected a la carte tv over cellular and whole home internet via cellular routers that will create a new competitive advantage for the combined company and better lower priced options for consumers. Any one who opposes this deal is not fully aware of the advantages for consumers due to increased competition specially with cable companies who rape the consumer through monopolistic agreements and division of market.

  • I’m just curious on what will happen to the nationwide 850hmz sprint has. Itll definitely help out alot with reliability.

    • GeoGuy17

      It will not help out much as it is a small slice of spectrum. The 600 is much more beneficial than what little low-band that Sprint has.