T-Mobile touts its $8 billion low-band 600 MHz wireless spectrum acquisition as a game-changer, promising to significantly improve its LTE network throughout the country, competing more effectively with Verizon and AT&T.
“That low-band duopoly ownership defined the industry for so long in so many parts of the country, and now that lock is finally broken,” said T-Mobile CEO John Legere, in one of numerous swipes at his larger competitors this week.
Verizon isn’t impressed. In fact, the company said today that it didn’t even bother to bid on the spectrum — and did a little swiping of its own.
“We have strong spectrum holdings in the 700, 850, 1900 megahertz (MHz)/PCS, AWS 1 and 3 spectrum bands. So why didn’t we bid on the 600 MHz spectrum? We simply don’t need it,” wrote Nicola Palmer, the Verizon Wireless chief network officer, in a post today, breaking Verizon’s silence after the end of the FCC’s quiet period.
After explaining why Verizon believes its network is well-positioned for future 5G wireless networks, she added that “the future use of 600 MHz spectrum – only good in the U.S. and not globally – will take some time to figure out and deploy widely, especially in busy urban locations.”
And then she referenced T-Mobile, without naming the smaller rival: “One competitor spent $8 billion for 600 MHz spectrum to finally acquire a national low-band spectrum position. They need it, desperately. And while they continue to play catch up in 4G, we’ve had the largest national LTE Advanced footprint on 700 MHz spectrum for seven years, and it keeps getting better.”
Low-band spectrum is coveted for its strong propagation, which improves coverage inside buildings and in suburban and rural areas. This is key for T-Mobile to continue improving its network, which has historically been weaker outside urban areas.
Palmer concluded, “Verizon built a reputation on delivering the best network, hands down. We deliver that experience because we plan for it, and invest in it, month after month, year after year. Our thoughtful technology choices, well-rounded spectrum assets and excellence in execution position us for continued 4G distinction and 5G leadership.”
Verizon Wireless leads the U.S. wireless industry with 114 million retail connections. Verizon reported a decline of more than 300,000 postpaid phone subscribers last week, as parent company Verizon Communications saw its quarterly profits fall by 20 percent. T-Mobile has 72.6 million customers, after adding 1.1 million customers and reporting a 48 percent increase in profits in the first quarter.