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T-Mobile’s 4G LTE Network Expansion Continues in 4Q15

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T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network

In the previous parts of the series, we learned about the customer growth and anticipated YoY (year-over-year) improvement in T-Mobile’s (TMUS) postpaid phone churn in 4Q15. One of the factors positively affecting this customer retention is the expansion of T-Mobile’s 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) network. During the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference held on December 7, 2015, Neville Ray, who is T-Mobile’s chief technology officer, gave updates on the company’s 4G LTE coverage.

According to Ray, “We’re at 303 million covered people in the U.S. as of today.” As we can see in the above bar chart above, the company’s LTE coverage was at ~265 million people at the end 2014. At the end of 3Q15, this figure was ~300 million people.

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T-Mobile’s low-band spectrum

A key factor affecting customer retention is also the increasing coverage of T-Mobile’s low-band coverage spectrum. During the conference, Ray mentioned the status of deployment on the 700 MHz (or megahertz) A-Block spectrum.

At the end of 3Q15, T-Mobile’s holdings in A-Block spectrum spanned 190 million people. Talking about deployment on this spectrum, Ray mentioned, “we’ve actually rolled out 181 million of that 190 million.” He also mentioned additions to the company’s low band spectrum portfolio, as he added, “We’ve added another 20 million licenses – covered people under those licenses just inside the last month.”

Note that in the United States, AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ) have significant holdings in the coverage spectrums compared to T-Mobile and Sprint (S).

For a diversified exposure to T-Mobile, you may consider investing in the iShares US Telecommunications ETF (IYZ). The wireless telecom company made up around 5% of the ETF at the end of October 2015.

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