T-Mobile has been working quickly to buildout its 600MHz spectrum that it picked up in the most recent spectrum auction. However, according to analysts at Oppenheimer, it appears that T-Mobile is spending more than initially thought, and thus estimates have been increased. Oppenheimer stated in a research report issues on Wednesday that they "spoke with TMUS (T-Mobile US) management, who appeared to be focusing on building out its 600MHz spectrum for increased coverage/capacity, the correct route in our opinion, but this will require more capex and we increase our estimates." Oppenheimer increased its capex estimates by about $200 million for the current quarter, which brings the total to $1.55 billion. For 2018, T-Mobile executives expect to spend between $4.9 and $5.3 billion on its network.
Rolling out spectrum is not cheap, especially when it comes to rolling it out nationwide, so it's not surprising to see estimates increasing, as far as what T-Mobile is spending on its 600MHz spectrum here. But the bright side is that T-Mobile is doing it the right way. And that is building its 600MHz spectrum for increased coverage and capacity. Especially important in the age of 5G that will be a very important thing later this year and increasingly important in the coming years as well. T-Mobile spent nearly $8 billion on 600MHz spectrum during the incentive auction, essentially picking up 600MHz spectrum across the entire country. That is going to massively help its network and put it in a great place, with 5G on the horizon.
For customers, this estimate increase by Oppenheimer isn't really going to make much difference. But if you are an investor and own shares of T-Mobile, you'll want to take this into consideration, as it is going to be shown on its upcoming quarterly report. Where the current quarter doesn't end until June 30, it's going to be some time before its earnings report is out – it should be around July 19. But it is actually a good thing that T-Mobile is spending more on its network, especially for customers. As that means the network is going to continue to be faster, even with more users being added.