T-Mobile CFO, Braxton Carter, was recently noted stating that one of T-Mobile’s main goals going forward is to further reduce the LTE gap it has with Verizon. The comments were reportedly made this week during Deutsche Bank’s 25th Annual Media & Telecom Conference, held in Florida. Carter explained that while T-Mobile has made significant gains in this particular area of late, closing out the “last 700,000 square miles in the U.S. that Verizon has an edge on us on” is of particular importance to the uncarrier.
While T-Mobile already has agreements in place with a number of carriers to offset the areas where it is more affected, the comments made by Carter suggest that if the quality of the service received by the end user is not up to par, then T-Mobile will want to improve on it. In particular, Carter explained that T-Mobile wants its customers to enjoy “the same quality of experience no matter where you go in the U.S.” Although, Carter did concede that closing the gap further is not something that is likely to happen overnight or in the immediate short term. Instead, Carter explained that T-Mobile will ‘knock out’ that last 700,000 square miles over the coming years. Adding that while they have more work to do, T-Mobile has “a ton of room” to do it.
In explaining as to why it has taken as long as it has to close out the difference in LTE coverage between T-Mobile and Verizon, Carter notes that the company’s previous lack of low-band spectrum has played a significant role and placed T-Mobile at a major disadvantage when trying to expand its LTE footprint, compared to the other national carriers. Essentially forcing T-Mobile to focus more on built up urban areas. Further adding that the “game changer” was when T-Mobile finally did gain access to low-band spectrum. Which did seem to be immediately apparent as early as January of 2016, when T-Mobile announced that it had expanded its LTE network coverage (geographically) in 2015 by as much as 250-percent, due to the 700 MHz spectrum it had managed to secure the year before (2014). One of the major steps that has led the carrier to the point it is at now.