T-Mobile's past, present and future

T-Mobile's past, present and future
Neville Ray, the CTO of T-Mobile, said in an interview this past week that the carrier will be one of the first in the U.S. to offer VoLTE. This technology allows voice calls to travel over a 4G LTE network. For T-Mobile, this will give them a chance to get rid of their 2G network and use the spectrum to expand their 4G services. But that's the future. Right now, T-Mobile can lay claim to having the fastest 4G LTE network in the nation. How did the carrier get there? By having one of the fastest buildouts of LTE ever. Over the last year, T-Mobile has gone from 0 covered to 209 million Americans. That might trail the 270 million covered by AT&T and the more than 300 million covered by Verizon, but a transformation has been taking place.

Once considered an afterthought, T-Mobile has added more than 2.6 million new subscribers over the last two quarters. Remember when T-Mobile was the last of the majors to offer 3G, the Apple iPhone and 4G LTE? One only needs to look at what T-Mobile is doing in some of its markets like Dallas where 20+ 20Mhz service is bringing T-Mobile customers there, extremely fast data speeds. Overall, based on data captured from Ookla's Speedtest.net app, T-Mobile's LTE customers averaged 17.8Mbps download speed. In comparison, Verizon customers averaged 14.7Mbps, AT&T subscribers averaged 14.3Mbps and Sprint members averaged 7.9Mbps.

According to Ray, the genesis for the turnaround came when AT&T backed away from its $39 billion offer to buy T-Mobile, due to regulatory issues. Terms of the break-up fee gave T-Mobile a ton of spectrum and $3 billion in cash. It was a lethal combination for other carriers as T-Mobile sat down to get its house in order. In addition, while Verizon and Sprint had to upgrade their backhaul, T-Mobile already had high-speed fiber laid down because of its HSPA+ pipeline. The carrier employed the 1700Mhz and 1900MHz spectrum it already owned to start its LTE rollout, and the acquisition of MetroPCS brought spectrum that was a perfect fit for T-Mobile. Ray also pointed out that while Verizon chased population (Ray's words), they were not prepared to offer good customer experience in some major metro markets.

And as T-Mobile starts to generate more business, it too will have to deal with heavy demand for data. Consider that users of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 on T-Mobile's LTE network are consuming over 4GB of data each month. And there is plenty of room to grow. Currently 66% of the nation's population is covered by T-Mobile's LTE network (amazing when you consider where it was at last year) and 73% is within reach of the operator's HSPA+ pipeline.

And just in the last few days, we have seen many comments from PhoneArena readers who have been captured by the antics of T-Mobile CEO John Legere. It seems that all of a sudden, America can not get enough of this guy. Consider that in the last few months T-Mobile has eliminated subsidized equipment pricing and done away with 2-year contracts. It also has a plan that allows for multiple upgrades in a year. T-Mobile also got rid of data roaming charges in over 100 countries and now offers 200MB of free data a month to tablet owners. And just this week, the carrier offered a plan to pay the ETF of consumers leaving AT&T, Verizon or Sprint for T-Mobile.

But all of these things don't matter if T-Mobile can't deliver the goods. A recent deal with Verizon brings much needed 700MHz spectrum to the carrier, which should help. T-Mobile has come out of nowhere to close a pretty daunting gap it faced against its rivals. If things continue in this way, who is to say where the carrier will be in two to three years. It might be enough for Dan Hesse, Randall Stephenson and Dan Mead to experience some sleepless nights.

Still the subject of takeover rumors, the most recent of which has Japan's SoftBank in the final stages of talks to acquire T-Mobile, the carrier's executives have very little say over whether the company gets purchased. With the majority of its stock owned by German operator Deutsche Telekom, any suitor needs only to buy out that block of shares to take over what has been the most innovative carrier (if not company) in the U.S.

source: PCMag



1. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

As a customer, I sure hope that there is a corresponding engineering push behind the sales push, for, unless T-mobile delivers the advertised service, it'll lose customers as quickly as it got'em. PS: recently family members tried the international roaming and it proved to be a bust.

2. joseram695

Posts: 79; Member since: May 28, 2012

I hope there not bought by softbank.

3. romeoc1984

Posts: 25; Member since: Sep 12, 2012

I am an outside event account manager for T-Mobile. I can assure everyone they we are trying our best to be the best. We have had a tremendous increase in new customer base and our LTE has continued to drive us forward. Im very happy to see Tmobile catch a break and look forward to a prosperous (and profitable) future.

35. hemihauler20

Posts: 5; Member since: Jan 12, 2014

Thank you for your excellent service. I've been a very happy customer for the past 7 months and I'm glad I switched over. You guys came highly recommended by a friend of mine who has been a customer for over 10 years now. I'm glad I listened to her. :)

4. PBXtech

Posts: 1032; Member since: Oct 21, 2013

I miss Carly.

21. andynaija

Posts: 1261; Member since: Sep 08, 2012

So true! I haven't heard about her in a long while.

5. suavemezie

Posts: 95; Member since: Jun 21, 2012

Don't believe advertisement, i was fooled to switch, i cant get service once i enter inside room,, AT&T is still way faster even at those claimed location, AT&T with full bar LTE, gets around 40mb download, while T-mobile pulls max of 29MB.

11. Galen20K

Posts: 577; Member since: Dec 26, 2008

That sir is incorrect, I Consistantly get 40Mbps LTE on T-Mobile. It seems you can't always believe what you read on PhoneArena comment section either.

18. Omarc07

Posts: 574; Member since: Nov 12, 2012

well you guys are lucky i have tmobile over here in LOS ANGELES tmobile ToPs out 10 dwn 2 up with full bars LTE we can sit here n argue all nite haha att and verizon beat tmobile everyday anytime on data speed i know because my friends have att and verizon my friend with her att iphone 5S gets up to 15 dwn 10 up sure its not 40 like the guyabove getting 40 on att but its faster than tmobiles 10 ,then my coworker with her verizon galaxy s4 gets up to 25 dwn ,10 up funny thing was before verizon was the slowest but all of a sudden it became faster than att n tmobile so fastest here as of now jan 2014 are verizon att 2nd ,tmobile 3rd sprint last.

36. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Omarc, same story but reversed. I sit here getting 38 down on my tmobile while Verizon is hitting 17 and others below 15. But see the best thing is, the data presented is actual data, it takes into account, slow and fast experiences, and in the Tmobile comes out on top. Also Suavemezie... Call get a signal booster if it is your home that is having trouble.

16. czarniko253

Posts: 12; Member since: Jan 07, 2014

I agree, I also was pulling close to 40 down in Washington state, and I've noticed I'm getting service in new places monthly, service where others carriers are completely dead as is they're phone is on airplane mode.

19. Shatter

Posts: 2036; Member since: May 29, 2013

Every place where ATT was dead when I had them has coverage from tmobile.

6. johnbftl

Posts: 283; Member since: Jun 09, 2012

T-Mobile is bar none the lowest, most unethical company in wireless. With their new ETF payoff and handset buyback program they are doing, they are telling new customers to first go to a competitor to activate a line with something like an iPhone 5c, then bring it straight in to port. It's porting fraud, and their employees are being coached to direct their customers to do it.

8. corporateJP

Posts: 2458; Member since: Nov 28, 2009

The wireless industry in general has been unethical for quite some time. I have no argument to what you speak of, but I'm sure it mostly effects AT&T due to device compatibility (with the exception of the iPhone models which Verizon sells, as they come unlocked). It'd be nice to see Verizon lose money on this with their unlocked iPhones, because, in a nutshell, their executives are the greediest, most unethical bastards out there.

27. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 2009

As an employee at the time, I actually heard one of my coworkers at VZW tell a potential customer, "You can only get the App Market(Google Play Store) one a Droid. ATT Android don't get this.) Had my employee account not been pulled up with the other sales Rep i would have stop him and told the customer the truth. But I needed my job. She didn't buy the phone but how many people have taken for that. They're all doing unethical things, we just have to be careful and do our homework.

32. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

So I guess all carrier store employees will pull crap like this. I generally have little trouble with calling out other employees. I understand not wanting to get into a debate or confrontation with the employee while on the job, etc. but I would have at least reported him through the appropriate channels, as store reps like that are just a customer cancellation waiting to happen. And I dunno how other carriers handle it, but I am have disgusted at the general disregard the carrier I work for has with handling complaints about stores, and they have very little accountability. Care reps on the phone are the opposite, we are held under a microscope and fine tooth comb of scrutiny.

34. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 2009

Oh yeah, I sent feedback on him... Of course nothing happened or at least he still worked there months later. So maybe he straightened up.

28. Gsmalltheway

Posts: 277; Member since: Aug 15, 2009

Not exactly true. You have to pay you ETF and then they will reimburse you. So it isnt fraud if you pay your ETF.

37. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Johnbftl...actually you are wrong and in bad understanding how it works. You have say, the iPhone 5c from Verizon. You paid a low price, and are on contract. Your phone was subsidy from the carrier. Even if you owe nothing on the phone. They are making their money back by charging you on the plan and the ETF if you choose to leave. To go to Tmobile, you CANNOT KEEP YOUR PHONE. You trade it in. They will give you value up to 350 of the device your trading in, plus your ETF. You will then BUY a Tmobile phone to replace the one you are trading in.

7. androiphone20

Posts: 1654; Member since: Jul 10, 2013

T-mobile is taking out the big guns, they just announced a $650 switch incentive in response to AT&T's $450

15. a_merryman

Posts: 749; Member since: Dec 14, 2011

Up to $650. Up to $350 for the ETFs (per person), and up to $300 for the phone you have to sell to them (and we know how all phone buyback programs and services skimp on the value). Basically the smartest thing to do would be to get whatever high-end phone you want when you redo your contract at AT&T/Sprint/VZW (Iphone 5S, Note 3, G2, etc. Just make sure it can be used on T-Mobile or just sell it on craigslist for more money) and buy an old and cheap used phone to sell to t-mobile. Then, if the previous phone you owned can be used on T-Mobile, buy whatever the cheapest smartphone from T-Mobile is (You have to in order to get them to give you this deal) and sell that on eBay or craigslist. And if it wasn't compatible you would've have sold it yourself for more money and can use that money to buy the phone you want from them.

38. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

a_merryman you wouldn't be able to do that. The buy back on the phone plan is limited to devices. So you would not be able to trade in an older phone. Nice try though. I suggest reading the deal stipulations on tmobile. Craigslist rarely gathers more money for phones that are legit, at least in our area.

25. JerzeySniper

Posts: 22; Member since: Mar 21, 2011

They are most def coming out swinging. Where im at T-Mobile may not be the best choice but i love what theyre doing. I cant repeat this enough but like i said before if it works in your area then roll with it everything aint for everybody and nowhere did tmobile claim to be the fastest everywhere. And if you want to talk about unethical practices....i invite you to actually go work for at&t and then come back and comment. As a phone industry whore i can without pause or hesitation tell you that Sprint is actually the most ethical of them all.

9. E.S.1

Posts: 308; Member since: Sep 14, 2013

That is true... However ATT still have most and best phone choices which is the main reason I stay with them year after year.

12. androiphone20

Posts: 1654; Member since: Jul 10, 2013

Agreed, T-mobile is looking into improving on that front +1

17. czarniko253

Posts: 12; Member since: Jan 07, 2014

Name a "best" phone that tmobile doesn't offer?

24. Max_Boost

Posts: 101; Member since: Sep 22, 2012

And he/she can't name one. Hahaha

26. JerzeySniper

Posts: 22; Member since: Mar 21, 2011

A thousand likes to you lol. My thoughts exactly. Probably one of "those special people" that believes you can still only buy the iPhone on at&t

30. Mike_L.13

Posts: 20; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

If he had said Verizon instead of at&t i would have agreed with him. The past three years of motorola Droid phones bearing the "maxx" moniker have been some of the best phones to come out in each of their respective years. Most people I've spoken to that have used them would agree. -sent from my og Droid RAZR maxx

33. corporateJP

Posts: 2458; Member since: Nov 28, 2009

Besides a couple of buggy Motorola's, I'd disagree. AT&T has far more exclusives, and much nicer ones at that.

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