Of all the things that you could say about the Un-Carrier, you could never say that they're short on ambition, and they're apparently set to prove it this year by targeting between 30 and 40 million new postpaid subscribers by expanding their network and retail presence into parts of the United States where they were either spread thin or essentially off the map. One of the major target areas in the push is the Chicago metropolitan area, including the main city itself and many of the more rural outlying villages along the highway, as well as suburbs of the Windy City like Aurora and Joliet.
Thanks to an expansion of their 700 MHz low band spectrum holdings in recent years, T-Mobile has been able to expand their Extended Range LTE, a more robust and higher-performing LTE network, into a number of new areas. T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray and CFO Braxton Carter took the stage at CES to lay bare their plans for 2017. Throughout the year, they plan to not only work toward a successful 5G rollout before 2020, but they will be improving their LTE networks and expanding network capacity and speed through many areas of the country where they currently have gaps in coverage. To boot, they're planning on putting brick and mortar retail stores into many areas where they have no retail presence at the moment, and bolstering their presence in key markets where they may be spread a little thin or be facing tough competition.
Last year, T-Mobile completed the groundwork to build out Extended Range LTE in the US' top ten wireless demographics by paying a whopping $450 million for only 12 MHz of spectrum in the Chicago area. Expanding Magenta's presence in the Chicago metro will be one of the top priorities for the year, and if things go off without a hitch, T-Mobile will have close to 100% coverage of the US with their LTE network, and will offer Extended Range LTE in all ten of the biggest wireless markets in the country. If T-Mobile is able to reach this coverage goal, it would put the top spot in the industry well within their grasp once 5G commercialization comes along to serve as a great equalizer.