T-Mobile’s current market share in rural areas is in the low teens. But CEO Mike Sievert expects that to rise to the 20% level “in our planning horizon.” The T-Mobile network “will be the demonstrable leader in rural areas,” Sievert told investors in a question-and-answer session at a virtual investor conference yesterday.
T-Mobile’s rural market share is already growing. A few years ago, it was in the single digits, according to Sievert. The forecast to reach the 20% level may be conservative because “we have the best value and the best network,” Sievert said.
T-Mobile has been known as a disruptive force in the mobile market since it adopted the “Un-carrier” moniker several years ago. But now that the company has widely deployed 5G using the 2.5 GHz mid-band spectrum it acquired when it merged with Sprint and now that it has filled out its LTE coverage, the company is also claiming the best network crown.
Sievert noted that T-Mobile’s competitive position varies from one rural market to another, however.
“We class every location” based on the extent to which “we have a full license to win,” he said.
What constitutes a license to win?
Sievert declined to provide details, but said the company considered the network and other factors such as “distribution readiness” in assessing a market’s potential.
Sievert made his comments at the J.P. Morgan Technology, Media and Communications Conference.
T-Mobile made a wide range of commitments involving rural areas as a condition of regulatory approval of the Sprint merger, which means that the company’s focus on rural areas is not discretionary but mandatory.
The company’s rural plans not only include mobile but also fixed wireless. The company last month made 5G Home Internet fixed wireless available to 30 million U.S. households, including 10 million in rural areas.
At that time the company also launched what it calls “T-Mobile Hometown” — an initiative that will bring T-Mobile retail stores to hundred of small towns over the next two years.