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T-Mobile’s Next Uncarrier Event Coming Before End of Summer

Wed, 08/13/2014 - 1:33pm
Ben Munson

T-Mobile CFO Braxton Carter said the next Uncarrier announcement will come before the end of summer.

Speaking at an Oppenheimer conference that was broadcast online, Carter didn’t offer details on what will be “Uncarrier 7.0,” only saying that it is “coming up very quickly.”

T-Mobile has stayed busy since launching its seven-day Test Drive and doing away with data rate charges for streaming music. In July, the carrier introduced a limited time deal for a $100 plan that splits 10GB between four lines.

Carter said the idea behind that offer was to “juice up the momentum” for T-Mobile, adding that the carrier hopes customers will opt for bigger buckets once these plans revert to 4GB after 2015.

T-Mobile will soon announce “Simply Prepaid,” an offering that combines T-Mobile with GoSmart Mobile, Univision Mobile, and Ultra Mobile. It’s unclear if this announcement has anything to do with the next Uncarrier initiative.

Meanwhile, the carrier has been busy with its LTE build. Carter didn’t comment on when 30x30 MHz and 40x40 MHz wideband LTE deployments might pop up but did say T-Mobile plans to have 20x20 MHz LTE covering all the major metropolitan areas.

Carter also provided an update on the MetroPCS network migration, saying that the prepaid carrier’s CDMA network in Philadelphia will be the next to be shut down and that the entire CDMA shutdown should be complete by end of 2015.

Once that’s finished, T-Mobile should see a $1.5 billion run rate in annual savings. 

Shifting focus to T-Mobile’s current efforts to deploy LTE on its 700 MHz A Block spectrum, Carter said that low-band network will have positive effects outside of just improved coverage and more economic deployment.

“There’s a lot of organic churn improvement potential,” Carter said.

T-Mobile now has A Block spectrum covering 159 million POPs total. Outside of the $2.4 billion the carrier paid Verizon for 700 MHz spectrum, Carter said T-Mobile spent an average of 48 cents per megahertz POP for the almost 9 million A Block POPs it recently acquired in other transactions.

Carter said the deployment is moving along and that T-Mobile will begin seeding the market with 700 MHz LTE handsets in the fourth quarter.

As T-Mobile network grows, so do talks of Dish Network being a new possible merger suitor for the carrier. With the Sprint merger off the table and muddled interest in Iliad’s $15 billion bid, the runway for a Dish bid could be clear.

Carter praised Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen and hinted that T-Mobile could be a good partner for Dish to at last deploy the spectrum it’s sitting on.

“It’d be insane to go out and build another nationwide network,” Carter said. “We could very rapidly deploy [Ergen’s] spectrum on our network.”

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