When T-Mobile's chief financial officer, Braxton Carter, took the stage at Mondays' UBS Global Media & Communications Conference in New York City, everybody had some idea of what to expect. T-Mobile and its people haven't exactly been known for holding back their opinions and wisdom since John Legere took the helm, and Carter didn't disappoint. Between touching on subjects like the possible effects of Trump's administration on the wireless industry, Carter essentially looked the cable industry right in the eye and told them that the method that they've collectively chosen to enter the mobile space will never allow them to compete on level with the big dogs.
Comcast and Charter Communications have leapt headlong into the mobile space so far, and have set the standard for what many guess will be the plan for cable companies trying to break in going forward. Since refarming their own spectrum would harm their service and buying up more would hurt their budgets, cable companies seem to be signing MNVO deals to try and get a foot in the door of the mobile industry. Both of those companies, for example, have active deals with Verizon, and are planning on offering mobile service in the near future. According to Carter, they're probably not going to make a very big splash. Carter said that having full control of your own network, and full say when it comes to customer-facing policies and other matters of day-to-day operation, is absolutely pivotal to being a part of the playing field in mobile.
Carter's words seem to ring true, if you ask anybody monitoring numbers in the mobile industry; despite coverage deals allowing users to hop on the networks of their bigger rivals and prices that are often far lower than postpaid options, most MNVO operations simply can't get up the sheer user count and reputation of the four major carriers, among the only mobile networks in the US that own and operate their own spectrum, network equipment, and retail outlets. The only exception here is US Cellular, who owns and operates their own network like one of the big dogs, but just can't seem to rise above MNVO levels of popularity and revenue. Still, with Comcast sitting in on the FCC's ongoing spectrum auction, plans could change; on top of that, the cable companies have a leg up that mobile carriers don't, and that is an install base of home service users to tap into for sales.