T-Mobile executives said last week that they believe they'll be able to deploy some of the 600 MHz spectrum they expect to pocket during this year's auction by the end of 2017. And CFO Braxton Carter told investors today that the carrier will also have handsets ready to support those airwaves.
Some industry analysts have speculated that it may take several years before carriers can begin to deploy services on the 600 MHz airwaves that the FCC will put up for auction in the coming weeks. But T-Mobile executives think they may be able to begin to leverage that spectrum as early as 2017.
T-Mobile's first-quarter earnings topped elevated expectations, beating Wall Street estimates almost across the board. The carrier also bumped up its guidance for the rest of the year. And it shored up its financing in advance of the crucial incentive auction of 600 MHz spectrum.
Verizon's eagerness to deploy 5G is likely because the carrier is struggling to meet ever-increasing data traffic on its network, T-Mobile CFO Braxton Carter speculated Monday. And its haste could be costly in the long term, he warned.
T-Mobile believes its recent spectrum spending spree will begin to pay dividends this year.
There will be convergence between fixed broadband and wireless in the United States, and T-Mobile US could be a part of that but will have multiple options as that occurs, according to a senior executive at the carrier.
T-Mobile CFO Braxton Carter said the carrier might have as much as $10 billion it could spend on spectrum during the FCC's incentive auction of 600 MHz spectrum next year. However, he said that he doesn't think T-Mobile will need to spend that much to obtain the spectrum it wants.
T-Mobile US CEO John Legere said that the carrier's momentum on subscriber growth has continued in the third quarter, with the company besting all of the figures it posted in the second quarter. Legere also said that he thinks it's inevitable that there will be a convergence of the U.S. cable and wireless industries.
Deutsche Telekom CEO Timotheus Hoettges said the company will consider any partnership for T-Mobile US that can improve profitability at the carrier, comments that again open the door to potential M&A.
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.