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Tag Archives: T-Mobile US

Crown Castle, T-Mobile Sign Long-term Tower, Small Cell Agreement

Crown Castle International of Houston and T-Mobile US of Bellevue, Washington, have signed a 12-year agreement to support the continued build-out of T-Mobile’s nationwide 5G wireless communications network with increased access to Crown Castle’s towers and small cell locations, according to Crown Castle. The company said the agreement enables T-Mobile to further expand and deepen the reach of its 5G network to serve U.S. consumers while also achieving financial synergies following its T-Mobile’s merger with Sprint. According to Crown Castle, the agreement also helps it generate long-term tower and small cell revenue growth.

“T-Mobile’s expanded alliance with long-term partner Crown Castle will fuel acceleration of our nationwide network build and provide synergies that we can further invest into that build – all in support of our Un-carrier mission to truly deliver 5G for all,” said Neville Ray, president of Technology at T-Mobile. “This agreement is another integral piece of T-Mobile’s ongoing efforts to rapidly expand what is already America’s largest 5G network. We won’t stop focusing on reaching even more customers and delivering fast 5G speeds to more people, every day and into the future.”

With the agreement, Crown Castle would be building on its strategic relationship with T-Mobile as it works with it to continue to deploy its next-generation 5G network, according to Jay Brown, Crown Castle’s CEO.

“T-Mobile and Crown Castle are ideal partners for this next phase as wireless network architecture continues to densify,” Brown said. “We believe T-Mobile’s significant long-term commitment to utilize our comprehensive infrastructure consisting of towers, small cells and fiber will enable our collective teams to quickly meet future network demands.”

According to Crown Castle, T-Mobile is the leader in 5G with the country’s largest, fastest and most reliable 5G network, including nationwide Ultra Capacity 5G that delivers fast speeds to more people than any other provider.

Crown Castle owns, operates and leases more than 40,000 cell towers and about 80,000 route miles of fiber supporting small cells and fiber solutions in large U.S. markets, according to the company. Crown Castle said its portfolio of communications infrastructure connects cities and communities to essential data, technology and wireless service, bringing information, ideas and innovations to people and businesses that need them.

T-Mobile, Sprint Tie the Knot … in Tower Industry’s Stomach

By J. Sharpe Smith, Senior Editor

Those in the wireless infrastructure industry reading the tea leaves after yesterday’s announcement of the T-Mobile/Sprint merger were left with mixed emotions. Macro sites will decrease, while small cells used for 5G will get a shot in the arm. Tower services companies will benefit either way.

The merged company will invest $40B in the network but will also decommission 35,000 macrosites and add 10,000 towers and 50,000 small cells. In sum, 110,000 macro sites will be reduced to 85,000 towers, according to T-Mobile US CEO John Legere. “About $26B of the $43B [in synergy from the merger] is from network: site decommissioning and site avoidance,” Legere said.

While the tower industry will definitely lose sites and money as a result of the merger, Keith Pennachio, EVP at SQUAN, said the deal will make the carriers more competitive, which will be good for the tower industry in the long run.

“The T-Mobile/Sprint merger has me somewhat conflicted,” he said. “I think that from a high level point of view, the industry needs the consolidation and the timing feels right. The amount of spectrum Sprint owns combined with the forward-thinking ‘un-carrier’ attitude of T-Mobile makes the merger formidable for the competition of the combined entity.  Sprint’s debt load is unsustainable in the long run, which could hamper CAPEX spend for 5G deployment on the broadest scale. It’s only a matter of time before cash constraints put Sprint further behind.”

Legere and Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure appeared on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” to discuss how the merger would result in an increase in jobs, benefit competition and push the United States toward 5G technology. All talking points for the regulators.

One of the biggest fears when a merger is announced is that infrastructure buildout may be put on hold. Claure said his company will not back off during the regulatory review period. Claure and Legere expect the merger approval process to take 18 months.

“We’re gonna continue to attract AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon customers into the Sprint network,” Claure said. “We’re going to invest. This is gonna be the largest investment in Sprint in terms of continuing to build our 5G network. So we’re competitors and we’re gonna continue to run the company the same way the last four years.”

Sprint and T-Mobile US each account for 8 percent of American Tower’s consolidated property revenues. On sites where both companies had separate leases for antenna space, the revenue generated from Sprint and T-Mobile represent 4 percent and 3 percent of American Tower’s consolidated property revenues, respectively. The average lease term on these sites with Sprint and T-Mobile US is three to four years.

Ken Schmidt, Steel in the Air, wrote that Sprint/Nextel sold its towers to SBA Communications, Crown Castle and American Tower, while T-Mobile sold its towers to Crown Castle and American Tower. T-Mobile was the anchor on many of the build-to-suit towers purchased by SBA.

“So, looking at same-company towers ignores nearby cell sites on towers by other tower companies and even worse, those macrocells on non-tower company structures like buildings, water towers, and billboard,” Schmidt wrote. “They indicate that 35,000 sites will be terminated which will almost all likely be Sprint sites and many of which are not on towers where T-Mobile is as well but on other towers nearby.”

MoffettNathanson Analyst Nick Del Deo wrote that the deal would not be good for towers, but he held that a consolidated T-Mobile/Sprint would create room in the wireless market for a new entrant. The obvious possibility would come in the form of a combined Charter/Comcast. Interestingly, in the first quarter of this year, Comcast added more postpaid phone customers than AT&T and Verizon combined.

“If successfully concluded, [the Sprint/T-Mobile deal] would be a negative for the Towers, at least in the medium-term (if consolidation stimulated the entry of a new fourth player, it could be modestly positive over the long-term),” Del Deo wrote.

Now It’s Up to the Feds

The resulting company, which will use the T-Mobile name, Legere will have pro forma revenue this year of $75 billion, and service revenue is $55B to $57B. In 2025, he projected the merged entity would generate $16 – $18 billion dollars of free cash flow. The company would also have 67 percent market share, inviting close scrutiny by the feds.

The deal will soon be examined by the Department of Justice, which will judge whether it reduces competition in the marketplace Legere wasted no time in making his case that the merger will be healthy for the marketplace. He made the case the DoJ must approve the merger to allow the United States compete global in the so-called race to 5G, citing the CTIA study that said China is ahead.

“It’s the early innovation cycle of 5G,” Legere said. “We are behind China. This is not something we can allow. This will be the first company — because of our available spectrum in the 600 MHz and 2.5 GHz bands – to build the nationwide broad coverage 5G service.”

Legere expects that the new T-Mobile’s $40B investment will push AT&T, Verizon and Comcast to pony up an additional $20B.

“That’s a story that Washington wants to hear,” he said. “It’s not about four to three. It’s about zero to one [5G network]. “This deal will get approved because it’s great for the United States.”

Claure said the merger is unique, and ostensibly should be approved by regulators, because it will allow T-Mobile and Sprint to build a 5G network that will be more competitive in the marketplace.

“We’re actually going to offer the best products, best services at lower prices,” he said. “So we plan to make the market more competitive. You’ve seen two disruptive companies, T-Mobile and Sprint. Together, we can turbo charge that.”

Claure said, as a result of the merger, the company would add tens of thousands of jobs in the first three years.

“This is a growth story in which the synergies – the synergies of this deal are more valuable than each company on a stand-alone basis. So I think this is an amazing deal for everybody around,” Claure said.


J. Sharpe Smith
Senior Editor/eDigest
J. Sharpe Smith joined AGL in 2007 as contributing editor to the magazine and as editor of eDigest email newsletter. He has 29 years of experience writing about industrial communications, paging, cellular, small cells, DAS and towers. Previously, he worked for the Enterprise Wireless Alliance as editor of the Enterprise Wireless Magazine. Before that, he edited the Wireless Journal for CTIA and he began his wireless journalism career with  Phillips Publishing, now Access Intelligence.  Sharpe Smith may be contacted at: [email protected]

Unable to find ‘mutually agreeable’ terms, Legere Says Sprint/T-Mo Merger Talks Finished

By The Editors of AGL

In a short, one paragraph statement, John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile US, put to rest years of negotiation and speculation, as he pronounced the proposed T-Mobile/Sprint merger dead.

“The prospect of combining with Sprint has been compelling for a variety of reasons, including the potential to create significant benefits for consumers and value for shareholders. However, we have been clear all along that a deal with anyone will have to result in superior long-term value for T-Mobile’s shareholders compared to our outstanding stand-alone performance and track record,” Legere said. “Going forward, T-Mobile will continue disrupting this industry and bringing our proven Un-carrier strategy to more customers and new categories – ultimately redefining the mobile Internet as we know it. We’ve been out-growing this industry for the last 15 quarters, delivering outstanding value for shareholders, and driving significant change across wireless. We won’t stop now.”

T-Mobile 3Q16 Capex – Is the Spending Splurge Over?

November 8, 2016 — 

by John Celentano

eDigest Financial Editor

rp_Celentano-2-300x300-1-1-1-150x150.jpgWireless infrastructure vendors will see less work from T-Mobile US (TMUS) for the rest of the year. The company’s 4Q16 capital expenditures (capex) likely will nosedive, even as it reported positive results in its October 24 3Q16 earnings call.

TMUS’ capex for the quarter came in at $1.16 billion, down 14 percent from 2Q16 and up 3 percent on a year-to-year basis. Aggregate spending through the first nine months totaled $3.8 billion or 84 percent of the projected $4.5-4.7 billion for full-year 2016.

Given the guidance, expect TMUS’ 4Q16 capex to come in around $760 million, a decline of 35 percent on a sequential basis and down 47 percent from a year ago. This means capital efficiency, i.e., capex/service revenues, drops below 15 percent into maintenance mode in 4Q16 after two years of aggressive network expansion.

tmus_3q16_qtq

This sustained capital investment has paid off, nonetheless. Service revenues and total customers have grown at a steady 3.5 percent per quarter rate since 1Q15, reaching $7.1 billion and 69.4 million, respectively, at the end of 3Q16.

TMUS claims it now runs the nation’s densest, highest-capacity LTE network, with more spectrum and cell sites per customer than its biggest competitors. Its 4G LTE service now is available to 312 million people, up from zero coverage just over three years ago, and effectively on par with Verizon.

TMUS accomplished this by incorporating new wireless technologies into its large spectrum holdings. At the end of 3Q16, the company owns, or has agreements to use, an average of 86 MHz of spectrum in the 700 MHz, Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) 1700/2100 MHz and Personal Communications Service (PCS) 1900 MHz frequency bands across the top 25 markets in the United States.tmus_3q16_spectrum

TMUS now offers Wideband LTE to 231 million people in 535 cities, which expands its network capacity through carrier aggregation. The result is faster speeds and capacity in congested areas. More bandwidth means faster data download speeds that TMUS touts at an industry-leading 22.8 megabits per second (Mbps). The company achieved this by layering its own AWS spectrum with AWS spectrum acquired from MetroPCS.

Coverage enhancement comes with what TMUS calls Extended Range LTE (ER-LTE) using owned or leased low-band 700 MHz A-Block spectrum in 366 market areas. ER-LTE travels up to twice as far as mid-band spectrum and works up to four times better in buildings. TMUS has 700 MHz spectrum coverage in all of the top 10 market areas and 29 of the top 30 market areas in the United States. TMUS will be aggressive in rolling out new 700 MHz sites through year-end 2016.

The company relies on other advanced wireless technologies to give its customers an enhanced mobile experience:

  • 4×4 Multiple Input-Multiple Output (MIMO) antenna technology, now available in 319 cities, that delivers twice the speed by doubling the number of data paths between the cell site and a customer’s device.
  • 256 Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM), which increases the number of bits delivered per transmission to enable faster speed, will be extended to nearly every cell site in the TMUS network before year-end.
  • Voice over LTE (VoLTE) accounted for about 61 percent of total voice calls in 3Q16 compared to just 16 percent in 3Q15. By moving to VoLTE, TMUS frees up capacity and allows for accelerated re-farming of 2G and 3G spectrum currently used for voice calling.

All in, there is still a lot of field work for wireless infrastructure vendors, in both hardware and software upgrades, at thousands of TMUS’ cell sites. More important, this new infrastructure must be tested regularly to ensure that coverage and capacity goals are being met. With the new multi-frequency antenna deployments, the company must demonstrate compliance with FCC specifications for electromagnetic energy (EME) radiation, especially on rooftops.


John Celentano is a tech marketing consultant and a wireless infrastructure expert. He can be reached at jcelentano1 (At) gmail.com.

T-Mobile Celebrates LTE Rollout Anniversary With Network Upgrade Launch

How else should a carrier mark the anniversary of its LTE rollout but by announcing a network upgrade?

T-Mobile US did just that this month. As its LTE network rollout surpassed 210 million people in 273 metro areas, the carrier (or uncarrier, as they like to be called) announced that it is upgrading its 2G/EDGE network with 4G LTE. The company plans to complete 50 percent of the work this year alone, and expects the program to be substantially complete by the middle of next year.

The upgrade will provide customers who have 2G/EDGE coverage with new access to 4G LTE and provide expanded coverage for those already covered by LTE. In addition, T-Mobile plans to begin deploying 4G LTE this year in the new 700-MHz A-Block spectrum that it is in the process of acquiring.

T-Mobile noted that it deployed its LTE network nationwide in just six months, from March to September 2013 at a “pace unprecedented in the U.S. wireless industry.” The carrier projected that its LTE network will reach 230 million people by mid-year 2014 and 250 million people by year’s end.

“Through this major new network upgrade program, and other initiatives already underway, we’re driving hard toward our multi-billion dollar strategy to further improve what is already an amazing network experience for our customers,” said Neville Ray, chief technology officer for T-Mobile.

In addition to these network updates, T-Mobile announced that it has taken legal action against Verizon, demanding that it cease and desist its network map advertising, arguing that Verizon unfairly depicted the speed and breadth of the wireless technologies that T-Mobile uses.