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T-Mobile LTE & Network Discussion


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T-Mobile can fire up a bunch of Flexi's and get really good AWS LTE in the cities. That's not so easy to do in rural areas. They need to get in line for the 5x5 700 Upper D block if/when it gets auctioned up.

 

If rural coverage is a priority for you, don't sign up with T-mobile.

 

It's a great option for people who live within and spend the vast majority of their time inside of their priority urban-suburban coverage areas and awful for people who live on the periphery, and for "road warriors" whose job requires them to spend a lot of time traveling around the US.

 

That might be an over-simplification, but everyone should know exactly what they are signing up for, and its unlikely to change anytime soon.

Edited by gangrene
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If rural coverage is a priority for you, don't sign up with T-mobile.

 

That might be an over-simplification, but everyone should know exactly what they are signing up for.

 

Well, yes, but 700 MHz coverage in rural areas could change the obvious point you just made.

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Well, yes, but 700 MHz coverage in rural areas could change the obvious point you just made.

 

They'll never get their hands on a significant chunk of 700mhz spectrum, which is why they (long shot) petitioned the FCC to auction off chunks of 600mhz spectrum.

Edited by gangrene
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They'll never get their hands on a significant chunk of 700mhz spectrum, which is why they (long shot) petitioned the FCC to auction off chunks of 600mhz spectrum.

 

I wouldn't go that far. There's 700 A they are taking over from Metro and if they would go after USCC, USCC owns a bunch of 700 A. By all indications I can gather T-Mobile is considering changing course on 700 A.

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I wouldn't go that far. There's 700 A they are taking over from Metro and if they would go after USCC, USCC owns a bunch of 700 A. By all indications I can gather T-Mobile is considering changing course on 700 A.

 

That sounds nice, but it's a pipe dream.

 

Everything points to the fact that their plan going forward is to win back subscribers in major metro areas by undercutting the competition and eliminating contracts.

 

Modernizing their 13,000 rural sites, and improving their rural coverage is a low priority.

Edited by gangrene
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That sounds nice, but it's a pipe dream.

 

Everything points to the fact that their plan going forward is to win back subscribers in major metro areas by undercutting the competition and eliminating contracts.

 

Modernizing their 13,000 rural sites, and improving their rural coverage is a low priority.

 

They have to do that to have a chance to get the capital for further expansion. I don't blame them for their strategy. They have little incentive to do anything in the rural areas. When VoLTE becomes more robust, they can start to move in rural areas. If they don't think of the future and start to get better plans in place, they won't grow. They'll become an aquisition target for SprintBank.

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I wonder if their LTE coverage estimates, in terms of population, are like Clearwire's or like their CURRENT HSPA+ coverage estimates, meaning, coverage you'll get on the street, if you're lucky.

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They have to do that to have a chance to get the capital for further expansion. I don't blame them for their strategy. They have little incentive to do anything in the rural areas. When VoLTE becomes more robust, they can start to move in rural areas. If they don't think of the future and start to get better plans in place, they won't grow. They'll become an aquisition target for SprintBank.

 

Its unlikely that a Sprint takeover of T-mobile would ever be approved.

 

T-mobile is going to eliminate coverage gaps inside and around major markets and improve coverage in secondary markets, better suburban and exurban coverage (part of the reason they're doing 1900mhz HSPA+).

 

Expanding into rural areas in order to try and win over the few customers that have had a lifelong relationship with Verizon doesn't make a lot of sense.

 

Offering a good product to people who fit their coverage profile, being a low cost alternative to Verizon and AT&T is the only thing that makes any sort of sense for them.

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I wouldn't go that far. There's 700 A they are taking over from Metro and if they would go after USCC, USCC owns a bunch of 700 A. By all indications I can gather T-Mobile is considering changing course on 700 A.

 

A few problems...

 

MetroPCS has one Lower 700 MHz A block license in the Boston BEA. That is it. And USCC does not have as much Lower 700 MHz spectrum as you may think. USCC's designated entity, King Street, tried to acquire Lower 700 MHz spectrum to cover existing USCC markets, not to expand USCC coverage. So, any T-Mobile-MetroPCS-USCC Lower 700 MHz spectrum would be limited to a few areas of the country. It would be a highly limited, inconsistent solution.

 

Also, T-Mobile is positioning its W-CDMA and LTE bands to be a subset of those of AT&T as a means of easing device procurement. Any AT&T device design can be simply rebadged for T-Mobile, and any unlocked AT&T device can be used fully on T-Mobile. Unless AT&T opts to or is required to retire its boutique band 17, band 12 Lower 700 MHz A block spectrum would throw a big monkey wrench in T-Mobile's plans to ride AT&T's device coattails.

 

AJ

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Those are all valid points, however T-Mobile has to come up with a long term solution to rural issues at some point. I would agree that modernizing rural sites right now is dumb. That doesn't mean it isn't smart in the future.

 

This is a business where to be successful you have to pivot fast. Things change quickly. That's part of the reason why Dotson got canned.

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Those are all valid points, however T-Mobile has to come up with a long term solution to rural issues at some point. I would agree that modernizing rural sites right now is dumb. That doesn't mean it isn't smart in the future.

 

This is a business where to be successful you have to pivot fast. Things change quickly. That's part of the reason why Dotson got canned.

T-mobile Is modernizing all sites.. Although I believe they are more of a "metro carrier "

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T-mobile Is modernizing all sites.. Although I believe they are more of a "metro carrier "

 

No. They're only modernizing ~37,000 out of ~51,000 sites of which the majority are those that are in urban areas with HSPA+ already deployed.

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News to me. The legacy nokia cabinets are coming out. So if they are counting aws only / in building sites that have a normal site number ( tons and tons of them) I would belive that. 20k of those is not a stretch.

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Those are all valid points, however T-Mobile has to come up with a long term solution to rural issues at some point.

 

Why? the rural and frequent traveler demographics are owned by Verizon(and to a much lesser, regional extent USC).

 

Even Sprint has a foothold in the rural market through extensive roaming agreements.

 

It would be a huge expenditure for very little gain in the way of paying customers.

 

The best thing they can do is fill in coverage gaps, improve indoor coverage in areas that their customers already frequent.

 

It makes more sense to try and win converts in areas where their coverage is already solid.

Edited by gangrene
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Why? the rural and frequent traveler demographics are owned by Verizon(and to a much lesser regional extent USC).

 

Even Sprint has a foothold in the rural market through extensive roaming agreements.

 

It would be a huge expenditure for very little gain in the way of paying customers.

 

Even if we scratch 700 A out of the equation and make this just about the 600 auction upcoming (which T-Mobile is going to bid in), T-Mobile can use VoLTE to serve rural areas. By that time that coverage goes live LTE will be at Release 12 and a lot of the issues that hurt VoLTE as a rural option will be mitigated.

 

Would it yield few customers? It depends on on the level of customers they can get. Is the urban strategy right in the short term? Yes, but for the mobile market to be really competitive and the Bell duopoly to shatter and have a truly competitive marketplace, you need to get both of the carriers involved in solving the map issue. Again, VZW has the lowest churn because it has the most coverage. That's what customers value, and the fact they willingly put up with the rest of the overcharging, tiered data, and other BS on VZW proves that.

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Even if we scratch 700 A out of the equation and make this just about the 600 auction upcoming (which T-Mobile is going to bid in), T-Mobile can use VoLTE to serve rural areas. By that time that coverage goes live LTE will be at Release 12 and a lot of the issues that hurt VoLTE as a rural option will be mitigated.

 

Would it yield few customers? It depends on on the level of customers they can get. Is the urban strategy right in the short term? Yes, but for the mobile market to be really competitive and the Bell duopoly to shatter and have a truly competitive marketplace, you need to get both of the carriers involved in solving the map issue. Again, VZW has the lowest churn because it has the most coverage. That's what customers value, and the fact they willingly put up with the rest of the overcharging, tiered data, and other BS on VZW proves that.

 

It makes far more sense to fix their spotty coverage in areas like suburban Boston and on the outskirts of DC in a bid to win customers in areas where millions of people live, than to fund build outs in small towns scattered throughout Upstate, the Midwest, and in the South.

 

Verizon, AT&T and US Cellular are so far ahead in covering these kinds of areas that you could argue that it would be a mistake for them to try.

 

Covering those 13,000 GPRS towers wouldn't be enough, they'd also have to fund a massive (from scratch) expansion to be equivalent to the two larger players.

 

Sprint+Softbank is in position to do a meaningful expansion and build out, T-mobile isn't.

 

Their only shot is targeting the urban dweller that doesn't need the rural coverage with a lower price and really fast data service.

Edited by gangrene
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It makes far more sense to fix their spotty coverage in areas like suburban Boston and on the outskirts of DC in a bid to win customers in areas where millions of people live, than to fund build outs in small towns scattered through Upstate, Midwest, and South.

 

Verizon, AT&T and US Cellular are so far ahead in covering these kinds of areas that you could argue that it would be a mistake for them to try.

 

You're thinking 2013.

 

I'm thinking 2016-2017.

 

In 2013, you're right.

 

I'm betting I'm right in 2017. That's the difference

 

Now if T-Mobile US and USCC merged... Mayr you could bump that up to 2015.

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You're thinking 2013.

 

I'm thinking 2016-2017.

 

In 2013, you're right.

 

I'm betting I'm right in 2017. That's the difference

 

Now if T-Mobile US and USCC merged... Mayr you could bump that up to 2015.

 

Four years is a lifetime in the technology industry, its useless to even speculate.

 

And personally, I doubt the expenditure ever makes sense.

Edited by gangrene
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Four years is a lifetime in the technology industry, its useless to even speculate.

 

And personally, I doubt the expenditure ever makes sense.

 

It's not speculation it's long-term strategy. Of course I'm speculating. Key here is Dotson didn't go for any band 17 spectrum. Look where T-Mobile is because of that. T-Mobile blew it 4-5 years ago. Now they have to focus on urban areas because that's their only chance. I would much rather them fix STL as a problem market before expanding to the rural areas surrounding there. Tell me with a straight face they should sit out the 600 MHz auction. Also tell me the Bells should raid that band like the others.

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I do have somewhat of a problem with T-Mobile's spectrum holdings. It does not make sense for the runt of the litter to have more spectrum per capita than the leading carrier does. If we are really going to allow the industry to consolidate down to just three or four major players, then we need to reconsider our approach to spectrum management. Having the remaining players compete for spectrum fails to take into account actual need. Allow each carrier to buy spectrum proportionally according to its market share. Then, the carriers can compete on factors that really matter: coverage, service, policies, and price.

 

AJ

 

I think idealistically, that sounds great - but what about in practice?

 

Market share is dynamic - spectrum holdings are a way to take risk. Look at what softbank is doing with sprint, you could draw a similar comparison.

 

Both T-Mobile and Sprint need to be different than Verizon/AT&T. They are increasing risk by acquiring more spectrum.

 

Regardless if you agree/disagree with the strategy, they should be able to do it. Now, what shouldn't be allowed is spectrum squatting by the incumbent carriers to prevent competition. Given T-Mobile's extremely aggressive marketing tactics and extremely aggressive pricing, I would say they are helping keep the industry competitive. $30 for 5GB 4G data is a great example of this.

 

At any rate, I am pumped that T-Mobile will have 50MHz of AWS and 20MHz of PCS spectrum to play with and Sprint will have ~200MHz of spectrum to compete against AT&T and Verizon in my Boston market.

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Why? the rural and frequent traveler demographics are owned by Verizon(and to a much lesser, regional extent USC).

 

Even Sprint has a foothold in the rural market through extensive roaming agreements.

 

It would be a huge expenditure for very little gain in the way of paying customers.

 

The best thing they can do is fill in coverage gaps, improve indoor coverage in areas that their customers already frequent.

 

It makes more sense to try and win converts in areas where their coverage is already solid.

While I agree there is little reason for T-Mobile to do a rural build out there is no reason why you can't stay in contact as you travel city to city. T-mobile should at least endeavor to cover the major interstates.
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While I agree there is little reason for T-Mobile to do a rural build out there is no reason why you can't stay in contact as you travel city to city. T-mobile should at least endeavor to cover the major interstates.

 

I think a lot of it really has to do where you live. T-Mobile's coverage seems to vary greatly by region. A lot more so than Sprint.

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This is the problem with so many tech bloggers trumping up T-Mobile's DC-HSPA+ 42 network as a great fallback. Judging by the 3G/4G W-CDMA coverage area that T-Mobile has constructed over the last six years, if you find yourself in a native coverage area without LTE, you probably will not have W-CDMA either.

 

AJ

 

In lammens terms for the tech challenged that means if u don't get lte u won't get hspa+42 either. I agree by experience most of T-Mobiles coverage is 2g

 

Sent from my Sprint Galaxy Nexus rockin 4.2.2 using Tapatalk 2

 

 

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Why? the rural and frequent traveler demographics are owned by Verizon(and to a much lesser, regional extent USC).

 

Even Sprint has a foothold in the rural market through extensive roaming agreements.

 

It would be a huge expenditure for very little gain in the way of paying customers.

 

The best thing they can do is fill in coverage gaps, improve indoor coverage in areas that their customers already frequent.

 

It makes more sense to try and win converts in areas where their coverage is already solid.

 

Sprints post nv coverage is gonna rival vzw especially in rural areas.

 

Sent from my Sprint Galaxy Nexus rockin 4.2.2 using Tapatalk 2

 

 

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Sprints post nv coverage is gonna rival vzw especially in rural areas.

 

In selected rural areas, yes. In all rural areas, heck no.

 

You have to realize that, over the years, VZW has bought up hundreds of thousands, if not millions of square miles of rural coverage: AirTouch, Midwest Wireless, RCC Unicel, Alltel, etc.

 

Sprint Network Vision cannot challenge that. SMR 800 MHz, where available, will only expand and thicken coverage moderately.

 

AJ

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