T-Mobile said today that it will provide free 5G connectivity to every first responder at every public and non-profit state and local police, fire and emergency medical service agency in the U.S. assuming its merger with Sprint is completed. As T-Mobile CEO John Legere explained on a call with reporters, the merger would yield $43 million in synergies, which the company would use to fund this and other initiatives. The planned offering, which T-Mobile calls “Connecting Heroes Initiative,” would be available for 10 years.
The T-Mobile Sprint merger already has approval from the FCC and the DOJ. The remaining hurdle is a lawsuit filed by attorneys general from multiple states, which is expected to come to trial next month.
The news about Connecting Heroes Initiative is part of a broader initiative that T-Mobile is calling “New T-Mobile Un-carrier 1.0.” Other elements of the Un-carrier bundle, also dependent on the Sprint merger, include Project 10Million, which would offer free service and hotspots and reduced cost devices to 10 million U.S. households for five years and a $15 a month prepaid option to be known as T-Mobile Connect.
T-Mobile intends “to bring a level of competition to AT&T and Verizon that they have never seen,” Legere told reporters.
The company also noted that it plans to turn up its 5G service nationwide on December 6. Previously the company said that network would launch this year but didn’t specify a date.
T-Mobile First Responder 5G
If the Connecting Heroes Initiative comes to pass, it would be bad news for the nation’s two largest carriers AT&T and Verizon. Verizon traditionally had the largest share of the first responder market, although the company undoubtedly has lost ground to AT&T, which now operates the FirstNet dedicated public safety mobile broadband network.
AT&T’s FirstNet network has many advanced capabilities, which rely on a dedicated core network, and it isn’t clear if T-Mobile will match all these capabilities. T-Mobile did say, however, that first responders would always have the highest priority of any plan on T-Mobile’s network. Priority and pre-emption for first responders are key FirstNet capabilities. It’s also worth noting that the 5G technology that T-Mobile’s first responder network will use is a later-generation technology in comparison with the LTE technology that underlies FirstNet.
Referencing AT&T, specifically, Legere said “we’re not trying to copy you – we’re trying to give you a better example.”
Additional information about New T-Mobile Un-carrier 1.0 can be found in this press release.