T-Mobile is continuing its rapid 4G LTE expansion in the United States, Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray said Friday, adding that the wireless carrier managed to bring the technology to hundreds of new locations across the country over the last two weeks. The announcement is virtually identical to the one Mr. Ray made in mid-April, with the official now asserting that T-Mobile is planning to continue pursuing rapid low-band LTE rollouts for the foreseeable future. According to the Bellevue, Washington-based telecom giant, every market which received low-band LTE support benefits from wider coverage and faster wireless Internet speeds, with the technology itself leveraging T-Mobile's 700MHz and 600MHz holdings.
The company has been placing a large emphasis on low-band frequencies ever since acquiring significant 600MHz holdings last year as part of a spectrum auction held by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. Besides touting the technology as an ideal method for swiftly distributing 4G LTE improvements, T-Mobile also sees low-band spectrum as a crucial component of its 5G plans. If the firm's proposed merger with Sprint valued at some $26.5 billion is approved, it intends to join its 600MHz holdings with Sprint's 2.5GHz spectrum in order to deliver a next-generation wireless solution that not only boasts massive performance improvements across the board but is also relatively cost-effective to deploy and allows for speedy buildouts, T-Mobile Chief Executive Officer John Legere said last Sunday.
Some industry watchers remain skeptical of T-Mobile's claims that it's the only U.S. telecom that can bring "real" 5G connectivity in a timely manner by joining forces with Sprint, especially as the firm has been relatively quiet on the 5G front until it announced its attempt to consolidate with its smaller rival late last week, unlike its larger competitors — Verizon and Sprint — both of whom will already be offering consumer-ready 5G solutions in select cities later this year. T-Mobile and Sprint are hoping their merger will be approved and concluded by the end of the first half of 2019, a timeline that many analysts deem optimistic given Washington's growing opposition to any kind of wireless tie-ups, including AT&T's proposed merger with Time Warner that's less anti-competitive in theory as it doesn't directly reduce competition in any industry, unlike the deal that the two smaller national carriers are now proposing.