T-Mobile fully intends to 'lead for the entire' 5G era with speed, availability, and value
Verizon has been dominating the US wireless industry for the longest time, but the winds of change are undeniably blowing over this intensely competitive market as the nation's largest carriers continue to prepare their critical transition to a 5G era.
Of course, said new era is already underway, but the paradigm shift anticipated by many analysts, pundits, and top company executives has arguably not taken place yet considering the vast majority of 5G users stateside are not experiencing significant speed upgrades over 4G LTE at the moment.
That's primarily because T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon's "nationwide" 5G networks are all built on a sluggish low-band foundation, while the high-band (or mmWave) 5G spectrum deployed by the three operators thus far merely covers small parts of large cities.
That seems to make mid-band technology the key to industry supremacy going forward, and as highlighted by T-Mo's head honchos about a million times in the last few months, the "Un-carrier" just so happens to tower above its rivals in that crucial department.
This is the whole ballgame
Obviously, CEO Mike Sievert couldn't miss yet another golden opportunity at a recent investor event to hype up Magenta's 5G network expansion strategy in general and its market-leading mid-band buildout process in particular, calling the latter "the game." As in, the main thing that will help T-Mobile win the entire post-4G cellular "game."
FYI: There are 260+ million people already covered with @TMobile’s largest nationwide 5G network and nearly 200 cities & towns just got a mid-band upgrade!— Neville (@NevilleRay) October 28, 2020
Average speeds of ~300Mbps – that are only getting faster in the coming months! #iLoveTMobile
Sievert is not just talking about a short-term victory, mind you, emphasizing for the billionth time since T-Mo merged with Sprint that the united network resulting from the $26 billion mega-deal is "way ahead of anybody in this area" while adding that the plan is "to stay ahead" in the long run.
We're talking the entire duration of the "5G era", similar to how Big Red "got out first" and "got out best" with 4G LTE and was never surpassed in terms of coverage. Of course, T-Mobile is not only touting a major 5G availability advantage over both Verizon and AT&T using tons of dedicated low-band spectrum, deeming its mid-band capacity as the true game changer now and forever... or at least until 6G comes along.
Striking the best balance between speed and coverage from the three different layers of Magenta's 5G cake, mid-band technology is expected to enable average download numbers of 300 to 400 Mbps and peaks exceeding 1 Gigabit for "people by the millions and tens of millions" in the near future.
Will Verizon and AT&T be able to eventually catch up?
While that's clearly a tough question to answer at the beginning of a new wireless era, and the entire 5G era potentially sounds like a very long time, most analysts seem to agree with Mike Sievert that T-Mobile's arch-rivals have no path to market supremacy.
That's because Verizon and AT&T are simply not equipped to deploy mid-band spectrum anytime soon, having to rely on an ongoing auction to beef up their infrastructure. But even if one of the two (probably Big Red) ends up outbidding everyone else for the bulk of the spectrum up for grabs right now, that might not be enough to match Magenta's post-Sprint merger resources.
Besides, it will take time for any new spectrum to actually be used on a wide enough scale to provide stiff competition for T-Mobile, which will obviously not sit idly by as its adversaries start to recover the ground they've lost so far in the 5G wars.
Instead, the "Un-carrier" plans to boost the (theoretical) number of people covered by a mid-band 5G signal from an already impressive 100 million at the end of 2020 to no less than 200 million by the end of 2021. Naturally, that's in addition to the low and high-band expansions and improvements T-Mo undoubtedly has in the pipeline as well, not to mention the formidable effort of shuttering Sprint's network and migrating up to a grand total of 50 million customers to a new one.
It's safe to say T-Mobile will have a lot on its plate in the next few years, but don't worry, that doesn't mean the value of its wireless services will be impacted in any way. Not according to its skipper, at least, who claims there's absolutely no intention to squander that hard-earned reputation for offering cheaper plans in general than the competition.
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