T-Mobile CEO on 5G business plan after splashing $9.3 bn in C-Band auction

T-Mobile invested just over $9.3 billion in the FCC’s C-Band auction, selectively acquiring additional mid-band spectrum.
T-Mobile retail network

T-Mobile’s 5G network coverage map shows that it -Mobile covers 287 million people with Extended Range 5G and 125 million people with Ultra Capacity 5G. T-Mobile is on track to cover 200 million people nationwide with Ultra Capacity 5G this year.

US carriers Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile spent a cumulative $78.2 billion on bids during the recent 5G spectrum auction and accounted for 90 percent of $81 billion worth of auctioned licenses.

Verizon’s total mid-band spectrum following the auction would be 192 MHz. Comparatively, T-Mobile’s spectrum is 301 MHz and AT&T’s, 167 MHz.

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“T-Mobile customers are the clear winners in this auction. Our already industry-leading 5G network enabled us to be highly selective and strategic, concentrating our wins in top markets nationwide,” said Mike Sievert, CEO of T-Mobile.

“Verizon and AT&T bet on the wrong horse — went all in on millimeter wave — and they’re scrambling … and writing big checks … to try to catch up. Meanwhile we’re on track to deploy Ultra Capacity 5G nationwide before they can even get their hands on C-Band,” said Neville Ray, president of Technology at T-Mobile.

T-Mobile won an average of 40 MHz of C-Band in key areas home to nearly 225 million people, which it will deploy to add additional depth to its already strong Ultra Capacity 5G. In the mid-band range, C-Band offers a great mix of coverage and speed.

There are some key differences from 2.5 GHz, the mid-band spectrum T-Mobile is primarily using to roll out Ultra Capacity 5G. Most notably, it doesn’t travel as far. T-Mobile engineers estimate it will require 50 percent more cell sites for meaningful and continuous coverage, and in some areas, for example in-building, the required densification can be 4x higher than 2.5 GHz.

That’s why T-Mobile strategically invested in C-Band to supplement its much broader 2.5 GHz footprint in select urban and suburban areas where it already has a dense network. This will allow for the spectrum to quickly be deployed and provide a more meaningful performance boost for customers.

It took years of planning and investment – first for low-band 600 MHz spectrum to provide a massive nationwide coverage layer of Extended Range 5G – then for mid-band 2.5 GHz from Sprint to bring game-changing speed and performance to more people.

With spectrum dedicated to 5G in low-, mid-, and high-bands, T-Mobile is the only provider currently positioned to deliver innovations like standalone 5G and 5G Carrier Aggregation, expanding 5G coverage, improving network response times, and combining different layers of capacity for greater speed and performance.

Verizon and AT&T cannot deliver a 5G network with the breadth and depth of T-Mobile’s.

T-Mobile’s Extended Range 5G covers 287 million people across 1.6 million square miles — that’s nearly 2.5x the geographic coverage of AT&T and nearly 4x more than Verizon.

Baburajan Kizhakedath