The T-Mobile Sprint merger has now been completed. The merged company, which will continue to use the T-Mobile name, is poised to be a strong player in 5G, as it now had low-band, mid-band and high-band spectrum to support broad 5G coverage, as well as high speeds.
In addition, the company will become a competitor to cable and telco broadband, having promised to broadly deploy fixed wireless service at speeds of at least 100 Mbps. T-Mobile made a lot of promises involving 5G, rural and more to obtain regulatory approval for the merger.
“The New T-Mobile will deliver real choice and value to wireless and home broadband customers and double down on all the things customers have always loved about the Un-carrier,” said Mike Sievert, the new president and CEO of T-Mobile, in a prepared statement. “T-Mobile has been changing wireless for good – and now we are going to do it on a whole new level!”
Sievert replaces T-Mobile’s high-profile CEO John Legere, who previously announced plans to leave the CEO position when the merger was completed but who will remain on the board until June 2020.
The new company will have 14 times more network capacity in six years than T-Mobile alone has today, according to a press release.
The FCC and Department of Justice imposed a range of conditions on the merger involving rural, 5G and more in order to give it their approval. In addition, T-Mobile continued to make promises as it pursued state-level approvals.
In this post, we recap key promises made.
T-Mobile Rural, 5G Promises
T-Mobile summarized the commitments made to gain FCC approval in its press release, including:
- Offering average 5G speeds up to eight times faster than current LTE in just a few years and 15 times faster over the next six years. The FCC also requires an interim milestone to cover 97% of the U.S. population within three years.
- Offering 5G to 99% of the U.S. population and average 5G speeds in excess of 100 Mbps to 90% of the U.S. population within six years. (The FCC requires a minimum speed of at least 50 Mbps to the 99%.)
- Covering 90% of rural Americans with average 5G speeds of 50 Mbps – a requirement the FCC said would also have to be met within six years. The FCC also said two thirds of the rural population would need to have access to 100 Mbps service within that timeframe
The DOJ conditions require the sale of Sprint’s prepaid wireless businesses and its spectrum holdings in the 800 MHz band to DISH Network. DISH has committed to deploying a 5G network covering 70% of the U.S. population by 2023.
Other commitments made by T-Mobile referenced in today’s press release involve 5G and rural, including:
- Offering fixed wireless at speeds of at least 100 Mbps to 90% of the population within six years
- Offering the company’s lowest-priced plan ever – a $15 monthly offering known as T-Mobile Connect launched last week
- Offering a Connecting Heroes Initiative that includes free unlimited talk, text and smartphone data to all first responders, public and nonprofit state and local fire, police and EMS agencies
- Offering Project 10Million, delivering free internet access and hardware to 10 million households over the next five years
T-Mobile previewed several of the above-referenced offerings late last year.
T-Mobile’s commitments would appear to be good news for rural America, but several groups representing rural service providers, previously expressed concerns about the merger, arguing that it would lead to increased prices and endanger the favorable roaming deals that Sprint traditionally has offered to rural wireless providers.
Telecompetitor will be on the lookout for whether those developments come to pass and on whether the merged company does all the things that it promised, including meeting the T-Mobile rural 5G commitments and more.