Verizon Wireless uses spectrum less efficiently than any of the other four major nationwide mobile network operators, according to an analysis conducted on behalf of T-Mobile. The findings contradict assertions made by Verizon Wireless earlier this year in support of its plan to acquire spectrum from several of the nation’s largest cable companies.
“Rather than being the most efficient carrier, we found somewhat surprisingly that [Verizon Wireless] is the least efficient of the top four carriers,” said Dennis Roberson, president and CEO of Roberson Associates, which conducted the analysis for T-Mobile, on a conference call with reporters today. Roberson also is vice provost for corporate relations and strategic initiatives and a research professor in computer science at Illinois Institute of Technology and was recently selected to represent T-Mobile – and essentially the entire mobile carrier industry – on the FCC’s new Net Neutrality advisory committee.
Roberson argued that Verizon Wireless used a faulty methodology in making its spectrum efficiency claims. He said Verizon did not take into account the greater efficiency of 700-800 MHz spectrum, which he said is twice as efficient as spectrum in the 1700, 1800 and 1900 MHz band.
He also argued that Verizon should have done its calculations on a market-by-market basis and that it should have considered each carrier’s mix of smartphones and featurephones because smartphones use approximately 35 times more bandwidth than featurephones. Another concern, he said, is that Verizon should have considered how heavily each carrier’s customers use their smartphones.
Citing information published by the Wall Street Journal, Roberson Associates said T-Mobile users consume approximately 1700 megabytes per subscriber per month, followed by Sprint, AT&T and Verizon, whose customers consume 1200, 902 and 724 megabytes per month, respectively.
When Verizon’s own data about spectral efficiency is adjusted for all of these factors, Roberson said T-Mobile is the most efficient mobile network operator in 34 of the top 49 mobile markets. In comparison, Sprint is most efficient in 10 markets, while AT&T is most efficient in three markets and Verizon is most efficient in just two markets, according to the Roberson Associates analysis.
“T-Mobile’s efforts to manipulate the numbers by putting its thumb on the scale to make itself look better are meritless and simply an attempt to distract from the fact that it and its parents at DT made a conscious effort to pursue other paths while we continued to invest,” said Verizon Wireless in a statement. “T-Mobile cannot contest — and has not even tried to contest – our customers’ need for additional spectrum given their growing demand for and use of spectrum-intensive high speed broadband apps and services.”