T-Mobile, a carrier who once relied heavily on roaming agreements with other carriers in the US. Is now looking to be the "best roaming partner you'll ever have." This is a quote from T-Mobile's CTO, Neville Ray as he spoke at the Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) Annual Convention this week, in Seattle. The Magenta carrier has been growing its LTE coverage at an incredible rate in the past few years, and has now overtaken many of their competitors in speed and coverage. That's if crowdsourced reports from OpenSignal and Ookla are to be believed. But what's next for T-Mobile, to make money on their network? That would be roaming agreements.
Regional carriers often times have to use roaming agreements so that their customers can use their smartphone in other areas of the country where they may not have coverage. These roaming agreements have been "unfair" according to many of the regional and smaller carriers. This is thanks to the majority of these agreements being done with Verizon and AT&T. T-Mobile, however, now has a network that can compete with those two, but they don't want to create "unfair" roaming agreements with potential carrier partners.
Just in the last year to 18 months, T-Mobile has added over a million square miles of LTE coverage. Those of you that follow the industry likely know that this is due to their 700MHz spectrum that they have been picking up from Verizon and a number of smaller carriers around the country. Which means that they cover a big majority of the US now. In fact, the carrier is touting that they cover 99.7% of the population that Verizon currently covers. But T-Mobile isn't done yet, and is hoping to get some of the precious 600MHz spectrum that is up for auction right now (it's still ongoing, so there's no word on how much spectrum T-Mobile may receive from that auction just yet).
T-Mobile now covers 312 million Americans. Which is a similar number to what AT&T and Verizon boast. However, T-Mobile did it in a much shorter time period. T-Mobile didn't have an LTE network until March 2013, shortly after John Legere took over as CEO, T-Mobile began rolling out its LTE network, being the last of the four national carriers to do so. And effectively jump to the front of the pack in terms of network strength and coverage.