The Expansion in T-Mobile’s 4G LTE Coverage Continues



T-Mobile’s low-band coverage

One of the factors that positively affected T-Mobile’s customer retention is its expanding low-band LTE (long-term evolution) coverage. T-Mobile’s (TMUS) coverage on the 700 MHz spectrum continued to grow during 1Q16. The coverage on the spectrum reached 194 million people as of April 26, 2016. At the end of 2015, this figure was 188 million people.

T-Mobile continued to boost its low-band spectrum portfolio in 1Q16. In a statement by the company, “In the first quarter of 2016, T-Mobile entered into agreements with multiple parties to acquire additional 700 MHz A-Block spectrum licenses. These acquisitions will increase T-Mobile’s total low-band spectrum holdings from 210 million POPs to 258 million POPs upon closing.”

Unlike AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ), T-Mobile and Sprint (S) do not have significant holdings in the low-band spectrums.

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Expected growth in T-Mobile’s 4G LTE coverage

T-Mobile continued to boost its 4G LTE coverage in 1Q16. During the quarter’s earning call on April 26, 2016, the company noted that its 4G LTE network encompassed 308 million people. That figure was 275 million at the end of 1Q15.

Regarding expansion in T-Mobile’s LTE coverage, Neville Ray, the company’s CTO, stated during the 1Q16 conference call, “We’re not going to rest until we have a network as big as Verizon’s, if not bigger. I’d like to get as close to that number is I can by the end of this year, which means we’ll be north of 310 million.”

He added, “That’s going to be primarily driven by what we can achieve on additional 700 megahertz roll out.”

For broad-based exposure to telecom companies in the US, you may consider investing in the iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (IVV). This ETF held a total of ~2.8% in some of the US telecom players at the end of March 2016.


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