AT&T is on the hunt for more 700 MHz spectrum to fill coverage gaps in its footprint, a reminder that even though the carrier claims to have largely finished its LTE buildout it still plans to purchase additional spectrum to add coverage and capacity to its network.
T-Mobile CFO Braxton Carter said that "a little over 50 percent" of T-Mobile's subscribers are on the carrier's family plans, and that those family plans cover an average of around 2.4 lines of service. He said the carrier sees "substantial opportunity" to sign up additional customers to T-Mobile's family plans, and he said the carrier will continue to offer "pulsed" family plan promotions in the future to do so.
AT&T Mobility said it will need to wait until it deploys Voice over LTE nationwide to support CDMA voice roaming on its 700 MHz spectrum.
AT&T Mobility is working with several smaller carriers, likely including T-Mobile US and U.S. Cellular, to prepare for interoperability between their different band classes in the 700 MHz band. In a filing with the FCC, AT&T revealed the progress it has made in following through on a commitment it made in September 2013 to support interoperability between Band Class 17 and Band Class 12 in the 700 MHz band.
T-Mobile US aims to deploy LTE in all of its 700 MHz A Block spectrum this year, according to T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray. However, he cautioned the carrier may not achieve that goal.
T-Mobile US is seeing strong adoption of its Wi-Fi calling feature, according to a T-Mobile executive who said the operator now counts 7 million users of Wi-Fi calling.
All the while when we were trapped in the Title II News Blizzard that made any other topic seem small and irrelevant, the FCC has been conducting an auction of wireless spectrum. This wasn't supposed to be the big auction--that honor was reserved for the incentive auction, in which broadcasters would sell spectrum they hadn't deployed since the digital TV transition consolidated things. This was just an auction for "AWS-3" spectrum, Advanced Wireless Service frequencies in a high band that wasn't expected to pique much carrier interest. The FCC had set a reserve price of $10.6 billion.
T-Mobile is relatively well positioned in the battle for network capacity, according to a recent investor note from analysts at Macquarie Capital. Citing a recent meeting with T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray, the firm wrote that "T-Mo has several years of additional capacity on existing spectrum and current growth rates." The firm also raised its expectations for T-Mobile's fourth quarter performance from 939,000 postpaid net adds to fully 1.2 million postpaid net adds.
T-Mobile US will continue to hunt for 700 MHz A Block spectrum but already has spectrum in that band covering 185 million POPs in 24 of the top 30 U.S. markets, according to CFO Braxton Carter.
T-Mobile US is selling stock in an offering that is likely going to raise $1 billion. The carrier indicated it will use the proceeds for capital expenditures and spectrum purchases beyond what it may acquire in the ongoing AWS-3 auction.