T-Mobile has already massively improved its download speeds with help from Dish
T-Mobile certainly had a lot on its plate when the coronavirus pandemic started picking up speed in the US, but although one can safely assume the "Un-carrier" remained primarily focused on completing its vital Sprint merger in an increasingly unstable financial climate, customers must have been happy to see Magenta promptly react to the health crisis on several different levels.
Apart from closing most stores, offering unlimited high-speed data to everyone, and unveiling an ultra-affordable new plan for folks looking to stay connected during these very trying times while keeping their expenses to a minimum, T-Mo borrowed a bunch of spectrum in an ambitious attempt at temporarily expanding network capacity and boosting speeds.
This largely unprecedented move was made possible by the FCC's Keep Americans Connected Pledge, but its real-world success hinged almost entirely on T-Mobile's rapid integration of additional low-band technology into its already robust 600 MHz network. As highlighted in a thorough new OpenSignal report, the "Un-carrier" managed to execute this plan incredibly quickly, needing less than three days to start deploying the spectrum on loan from Dish and a few other companies.
What's perhaps even more impressive is how much of a difference these temporary network upgrades made for the real-life experience of millions of customers in the space of less than two weeks. Upon analyzing the top 100 US cellular market areas (CMAs), OpenSignal found that T-Mobile vastly improved its network capacity across no less than 89 of those markets by the end of March.
Believe it or not, the 4G download speeds T-Mobile users were averaging at the beginning of March on the wireless service provider's 600 MHz spectrum essentially doubled by the end of the month in OpenSignal's nationwide measurements. This emphasizes just how seriously Magenta took this network-boosting effort during the COVID-19 pandemic, but at the same time, it works as a nasty reminder of how much valuable wireless technology companies like Dish have been hoarding for years without any intention of using.
Of course, Dish is planning to finally put some of that spectrum to good use and give T-Mobile a run for its money, although many industry pundits remain skeptical about Charlie Ergen's promises. Meanwhile, T-Mobile will not be able to benefit from these Dish-enabled network improvements forever, but its 5G speeds are expected to grow by an even more significant margin with the help of Sprint's mid-band spectrum.