Legere updates on T-Mobile US, Sprint merger
T-Mobile US executives, who are working with counterparts at Sprint and federal officials on a proposed merger, provided details on plans to launch mobile 5G, millimeter wave spectrum auction participation, 600 MHz deployment and plans related to the acquisition of TV provider Layer 3.
T-MO CEO John Legere said the carrier’s LTE networks covers 323 PoPs “and we continue to aggressively roll out low-band spectrum with our 700 MHz deployment virtually complete and our 600 MHz deployment continuing at a furious pace.” He said 600 MHz spectrum, licensed at auction last year, is deployed in 992 cities and towns in 33 states. “The 600 MHz gear we are deploying will be upgradable to 5G with a software update.”
T-Mobile has announced plans to build 5G in 30 cities this year, including New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas and Las Vegas, followed by a commercial launch in 2019. Legere said nationwide coverage was coming in 2020, and noted the role the merger with Sprint would have on those plans.
“While we still have a number of steps remaining in the regulatory approval process,” he said, “we are optimistic and confident that regulators will recognize the significant pro-competitive benefits of this combination. This merger is pro-consumer and all about super-charging the ‘Un-carrier’ and about bringing broad and deep nationwide 5G to Americans as fast as possible.”
T-Mobile US moving into home broadband?
Chief Operating Officer Mike Sievert said the carrier is working to expand content and develop a product based on the Layer 3 acquisition, and plans to initially go-to market later this year. He said right now TVs represent a “technology island…as opposed to your highly-connected, social media-fueled life that you live on your mobile phones.” That market “needs to be Un-carriered.”
As it relates to the proposed Sprint merger, Sievert said, “We went into Layer 3 with the idea in the back of our heads as the New T-mobile.” With 5G, “We intend to plunge into broadband; not just mobile connections like today but into in-home broadband because this network has the depth and breadth of 5G that’s simply unprecedented in the market. We see the opportunity to offer broadband in huge swaths of the market, which will bring competition benefits to customers, even those who don’t choose us.” Sievert projected approximately 10 million broadband customers “over the first few years.”