John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile, took something of a victory round this afternoon and used a call with investors to discuss the 5G plans of his rivals, now that the T-Mobile merger with Sprint has federal approval. Legere called Verizon & # 39; dead in the water without a strategy & # 39; and said AT&T has lied & # 39; customers & # 39; and & # 39; confused & # 39; about its use.
Legere has a coherent and entertaining (and if you are offensive, offensive) vision of the current state of 5G strategies. Of course it is all based on the idea that T-Mobile, once combined with Sprint, has the only true vision for 5G, which is more than debatable. But his explanation is not necessarily wrong either.
People have said that we are throwing out mmWave as an alternative to 5G, and that is absolutely not true. We have enjoyed a mmWave strategy. It will not work. Verizon's strategy will not work. It's fake. It was a first mover game. It would cost $ 1.5 trillion to do, and they are now dead in the water without a strategy. I think the world is starting to hit.
AT&T on the other hand gets at least the template. So if you look at the template that we are working on – what is a nationwide combination of low-band, 2.5 GHz mid-band and mmWave in highly concentrated areas – do we believe in it? We have just spent more than $ 840 million to quadruple our mmWave spectrum in the last auction. When you put those three together, you get real rural opportunities that this country needs that nobody else has.
The difference for AT&T – although they get the vision – they don't have a mid-band. So there is a gap in their strategy. But at least I think they get the template. Verizon: no idea, no strategy, nowhere to go. AT&T: no idea, lying, confusing people about 5GE, which is just 4G Advanced, and a big hole in their template, that's the middle, and where are they going to get the middle band to impose this?
The TL; DR is that Legere believes that 5G requires low-band, mid-band and high-band spectrum to work, and the combined T-Mobile is the only carrier that has access to it.
AT&T and Verizon both have a high-band (millimeter wave or mmWave) spectrum that delivers extremely high speeds, but it is only useful at very short distances. They also both have a low-band spectrum, which is already being used for LTE. Mid-band spectrum, which Sprint has, can deliver slightly higher speeds over slightly longer distances, giving T-Mobile more flexibility.
Verizon has focused his 5G speech on the implementation of mmWave and Legere says that an "mmWave strategy … won't work" because it costs too much. AT&T has emphasized that it is working on upgrading its LTE network to transform it into a 5G service (although it misleads customers through confusing branding). Legere says that those upgrades are the right approach, but that AT&T & # 39; a big gap & # 39; in his plan because of the lack of mid-band.
Whether mid-band is really needed for 5G is under discussion. Sprint, which has the mid-band spectrum, has described itself as the most doomed when it comes to 5G, because that's all it has to rely on. The ability of T-Mobile to combine that spectrum with other offers is the reason why Legere leans back and tears his rivals apart. We have contacted Verizon and AT&T for comments.
Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile all started rolling out their 5G networks this year, although availability is extremely limited so far, to the point that it would be a shame to buy a 5G device. even if you were still living in one of the few areas with availability. The implementation is expected to increase significantly in the coming year, especially when airlines begin to step up their 5G implementations outside of the very limited mmWave implementations that we see now.
However, it will take at least a few months for T-Mobile to start doing something with Sprint's assets. The deal needs time to close, and several states still have lawsuits against the deal. The scheme proposed today with the DOJ could help to resolve some of these problems, but states like California may want to see even more concessions.
T-Mobile and Sprint have signed a deal to have their merger approved by the Ministry of Justice earlier today. The deal requires that the combined company sells a number of assets to Dish, including wireless spectrum and prepaid wireless brands such as Boost Mobile, and that the company can let Dish ride on its network for up to seven years.
The merger had been going on for more than a year while it was being reviewed. The Federal Communications Commission approved the merger in May, but the Ministry of Justice continued to worry that combining the two companies would harm competition in the wireless market because it would remove the two underdogs and a third giant relatively similar to that of competitors AT&T and Verizon.