October 29, 2014 — In the third quarter 2014, T-Mobile spent $1.1 billion on capital expenditures, up from $0.9 billion in the second quarter of 2014 and up from $1 billion in the third quarter of 2013. Capex for the year is expected to be in the range of $4.3 to $4.6 billion, unchanged from prior guidance. T-Mobile’s increased capex reflects further investment in network modernization, according to company officials.
T-Mobile’s LTE network now covers 250 million POPs and is expected to reach 260 million by yearend 2014, 280 million by mid-2015 and 300 million by yearend 2015, according to Jennifer Fritzsche, senior analyst, Wells Fargo. Ten-by-ten megahertz LTE deployments have occurred in 43 of its top 50 markets.
“The roll out of the 700 MHz A-Block spectrum is progressing well with first sites already on air and handsets in the market, and we’re getting to hit our stride there,” T-Mobile CEO John Legere said during the third quarter earnings call. “We are also converting our 1900 spectrum from 2G to 4G LTE to add coverage, speed and depth to our network.”
T-Mobile continues to introduce wideband LTE in at least 15×15 megahertz configurations to new markets and is currently operational in 19 markets with at least 26 scheduled to be go online by year end.
T-Mobile has integrated with its merger partner MetroPCS in 55 markets with 78 percent of the MetroPCS customer base migrating onto the T-Mobile network, and 63 percent of the MetroPCS spectrum re-farmed and integrated into the T-Mobile network.
The CDMA portions of the MetroPCS networks have been shut down in Boston, Hartford, Las Vegas and Philadelphia, which is expected to cost between $250 million and $300 million for the year and $97 million in the third quarter. The network shutdowns will facilitate the realization of the network synergies made possible by combination of T-Mobile and MetroPCS.
J. Sharpe Smith is the editor of AGL Link and Small Cell Link.