Verizon and T-Mobile continue to spend more on their networks

Verizon and T-Mobile continue to spend more on their networks
An interesting report released on Monday, reveals that Verizon and T-Mobile continue to spend more money on improvements to their respective networks. On the other hand, the report notes that Sprint and AT&T have been holding back on increasing their capital expenditures. Unnamed industry sources say that Verizon has been shifting its focus from building out its LTE network based on coverage, to focusing on where it needs capacity.

That dovetails with comments made by Verizon CTO Fran Shammo, who earlier this year said that Big Red would be done with its AWS  build out by the end of the year. Last month, Verizon had AWS spectrum deployed in 400 of its top 500 LTE markets. After that, Verizon will start adding more capacity where needed by building up distributed antenna systems and small cells

T-Mobile is said to be spending its capital expenditure money on adding recently purchases 700MHz spectrum to major markets. There is talk that the carrier will add more 1900MHz LTE coverage and 4 x 2 MIMO technology. That doubles the number of antennas at the edge of the cell, giving those customers a better chance of obtaining a strong LTE signal. MIMO (which stands for multiple-input, multiple output) sends out data in a pair of parallel lines from the tower to the edge of the network. 

The reports blames a change in the chain of command at Sprint for a slowdown in spending. Instead of orders being sent out from Kansas City, Sprint now has three regional units managed locally. The carrier is also having issues with its 2.5GHz radios, which are used for its tri-band Spark service. With parent SoftBank beginning to apply pressure on the the company, Sprint will eventually raise its capex spending. Right now, though, it is looking to focus on areas where it needs more capacity, and is looking at spending in major markets.

AT&T is also spending sluggishly with fewer cell towers being added this year. Key network employees have pulled the cord on their severance pay. Still, the company expects to spend $21 billion this year on its network. And spending is expected to pick up starting with the first quarter of 2015. Ironically, despite spending on its network termed as being sluggish, AT&T's ads have recently focused on how the carrier is enhancing its network.

source: FierceWireless

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21 Comments

1. PrivateParts87

Posts: 15; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

And still no signal where I live haha..

2. mike2959

Posts: 694; Member since: Oct 08, 2011

The key metric missing is percent to income, or percent to sales, whatever you would like to call it. So while Verizon is more than double TMO on the average bill, Why is Verizon 3 time's the size of TMO. Real simple, people WILL PAY MORE FOR EXCEPTIONAL SERVICE. A box of Cheerios at Whole Foods cost twice than most other grocery stores, so how does Whole foods do 12.5 BILLION a year? And people buy that damn box of Cheerios that's twice the cost! Service comes first, doesn't matter if it's cell phone's, food, whatever.

5. WillieFDiaz

Posts: 127; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Not entirely true. Having worked for Whole Foods, Cheerios, in locations that it is sold, is not 2x more. With Verizon - people are not paying because the network is great, or solid, they are paying because they have "coverage everywhere" - but this is not unique to Verizon, it is also on AT&T - it is 850Mhz spectrum for 3G and legacy networks and now the 700Mhz spectrum for LTE. They had this for 25 years already in various incarnations before their final name came to be. Of course they would naturally have better coverage and offer indoor service better than other carriers - they had time to deploy and tweak it. On the flip side, there is ZERO room to complain that another company like T-Mobile has come along and in 18 months deployed one of the best LTE networks in terms of capacity, speed, and coverage in such a short time. Aside from this, their other networks have managed to be deployed quickly in many areas it took Verizon and AT&T many years to deploy in. Maybe this is the draw of human expansion and necessity and market demand in new areas, but if you were to look at deployments YOY in many of the same markets, using like technology you might find that yes, AT&T and Verizon are ahead, but T-Mo isnt far behind, and is being extremely fast with deploying what normally would take years. I digress - coverage is being subsidized on Verizon by fools in major urban areas, like where I live, who somehow believe that coverage everywhere, like Montana, Wyoming, and North Dakota, are somehow relevant to their service in San Francisco, a completely different terrain, topography, and market share. Only learning now that Verizon is as bad as Sprint in SF. In many cases, the worst LTE network of the major carriers.

9. StanleyG88

Posts: 240; Member since: Mar 15, 2012

Simple for us, we can get good verizon signal inside our house, voice & 4G LTE. For AT&T, there is No 4G at all and for voice we need to walk outside to get any signal. (Had to get $400 hi-gain antenna for our security system that only uses AT&T) For Sprint, we have to drive 2 miles down the road to get anything. For T-Mo, we have to drive 5-6 miles towards our largest city to get anything. No Choice, No Brainer. Now could be interesting if AT&T puts up one tower and equals V at our house.

17. biggles

Posts: 269; Member since: Oct 15, 2009

Your last comment is shortsighted. Even regionally Verizon is better in overall coverage and that can be quite relevant as people don't tend to spend their entire lives never leaving their home market. Case in point: I have family in a somewhat rural area 5 hours away. Verizon has always been tops in coverage on the route and the town where my family lives. Today, I have 4g LTE coverage the entire trip including their town. AT&T? The last hour of the trip, including the town is partner 2G - ugh.

19. DocOc

Posts: 143; Member since: Apr 23, 2014

People are also creatures of habit and tend to stick with what they are used to. It is true that Verizon has generally had better service than the others, but that gap has been reduced significantly. It is becoming more difficult to justify paying that much more for Verizon. Someone who continues to pay more for the same product or service is just plain foolish. People buy from Whole Foods because they "think" it's better for them. And some of it is. But it's mostly perception.

3. darkoman4

Posts: 183; Member since: May 30, 2014

T-Mobile really needs to build their LTE coverage rather fast. I recently traveled from Jersey down south to North Carolina with two friends of mine. I have T-Mobile and the other two ATT and Verizon. Needless to say whose coverage sucked the most.

6. WillieFDiaz

Posts: 127; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Its only been 18 months since they started deployment, and are working with a unique set of spectrum allotments and rather than deploying LTE on only ONE completely dedicated spectrum band, T-Mobile is working on shifting HSPA from one band to another, and overlaying LTE on top. This will take some time, however, they are doing a fantastic job of this, given the time frame. Not to mention by Summer 2015, 90% of EDGE 2G areas will be LTE. So thinking about that, they are doing the same process as before, but only in 12 months rather than 18+. If that doesnt say something, nothing will. However, I will be honest, T-Mobile has ALWAYS neglected the Carolinas former Suncom markets and they are notoriously known to be the last updated areas.

4. WillieFDiaz

Posts: 127; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

From my experience, Sprint has completely stopped upgrading. The coverage for LTE and 3G upgrades in the San Francisco Bay Area have remained the same for 2 years, and the service levels for both have dropped drastically as more and more people upgraded to newer devices thinking Sprint was actually upgrading and providing service that they arent - in turn, now putting more and more strain on the already horrible network they have, and the small areas that were upgraded unfortunately are not big enough to handle the amount of customers that might be within that cell site radius. Not that they have a lot of customers in SF, we are definitely an AT&T and T-Mobile market as it is. As for T-Mobile, they have been desperately adding not only capacity but new sites, and even tweaking the existing ones with beam forming antennas, where there was coverage and service, then it lacked, and now its back but better than ever. So they are definitely doing something right, and even one of the only carriers here that has continuous service in all BART stations in SF. AT&T I wont even touch the information you are saying here - simply put, in SF, you are dead wrong. They have a stellar network, in fact, while I am a T-Mobile customer, I have used AT&T for a few months on prepaid, and found that no matter what, it is FAST, coverage is all over, and the quality is the best. For now. I will remain with T-Mobile however, because I know what they are doing to their network, and small cell sites wont be relied on as much as other methods that all LTE carriers need to look at to upgrade in the long run.

13. lsutigers

Posts: 832; Member since: Mar 08, 2009

Sprint is still working on Network Vision 2.0 upgrades is San Francisco. While band 25 LTE (Sprint PCS 1900mhz spectrum) is widely deployed, they are actively deploying band 26 (Nextel iDEN 800mhz spectrum) and band 41 (Clearwire 2.5ghz spectrum). The bay area should be largely complete with all Sprint Spark bands by the end of the year but it is a work in progress due to Sprint's large scope of work gutting their entire network and building from the ground up.

14. lsutigers

Posts: 832; Member since: Mar 08, 2009

Our company just upgraded us to iPhone 6's with Sprint Spark and the new network is performing very well. In my experience speeds average 30-60mbps and peak at 70mbps+. Sprint is by no means done upgrading and investing in their network capex.

7. Galen20K

Posts: 576; Member since: Dec 26, 2008

People can say what they'd like, but I have Absolutely tremendous service through T-Mobile. Not saying their experiences aren't valid, just happy my experience is Positive all the places I spend my time.

8. JayFiveAlive

Posts: 67; Member since: May 30, 2014

I was in Ohio a few weeks back and Tmobile had almost no signal anywhere outside of like 1-2 miles from Dayton. I wasn't expecting great service since it's the boonies, but a friend had Verizon and they had full bars 3G. Made me only a tiny bit sad. In general Tmobile's service has been awesome in Colorado where I live, so I'm extremely happy with my 50Mbps LTE service. :)

11. JDogg5281

Posts: 74; Member since: Aug 09, 2012

1 to 2 miles outside Dayton? I find that hard to believe most Def since I'm am in Dayton every other weekend

18. troutsy

Posts: 382; Member since: Feb 17, 2012

Yeah me too, I think he came here to lie about coverage in Dayton just to make the city look bad.

20. Animorphed

Posts: 10; Member since: Oct 28, 2011

Same. I'm in Cincinnati and we are just now getting LTE thanks to Cincinnati Bell being bought out but anytime I'm in Dayton or Columbus I have strong LTE almost everywhere. Not just Dayton, but from Northern Cincinnati, all the way up I-75, and all over Dayton, Kettering, Springfield, and Xenia.

10. Derekjeter

Posts: 1489; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

Tmo coverage sucks to get thru walls. All three of the warehouse buildings I manage in California, Verizon is the only network that gets full LTE. AT&T gets 3G and the other two you don't even get a bar. That's why I never complaint about what I pay with Verizon. What good is it to have a cell phone when you can't use it. You get what you pay for.

12. NexusPhan

Posts: 632; Member since: Jul 11, 2013

That'll all change in the next few months with T-Mobiles 700MHz deployment. It'll likely be even better than Verizon coverage because T-Mobile has so many more towers than Verizon does. T-Mobile is the one to watch right now.

15. mikeguy1981

Posts: 88; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

I think i'll write a novel like everyone else did. Naaa. Go verizon!

16. mike2959

Posts: 694; Member since: Oct 08, 2011

People will always pay more for exceptional service. Always have and always will.

21. Gemmol

Posts: 793; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

Tmobile do not work in my house and Verizon do not get signal in the basement, Sprint the same as Tmobile.....so what do most of my family use....... AT&T.....no complaints, no drop calls, only thing I would want from them is unlimited Data, but at the same time when I had it, I never really use it like other people on this website doing 10 gig a month or more, so the plan I got now works for me and I still have not go over my 10 gig plan......thinking about doing the promotion thats going on where if you pick a 15 gig plan you will instead get 30 gig.......I do not use much internet, but it still sounds tempting

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