Humm: T-Mobile is back and in fighting shape

LAS VEGAS--T-Mobile USA received three gifts for Christmas: $3 billion in cash, AWS spectrum and some interesting roaming deals. That was the message from Philipp Humm, T-Mobile USA's president and CEO, during a press event at the Consumer Electronics Show here. Humm noted that the breakup of the company's anticipated $39 billion acquisition by AT&T (NYSE:T) led to several concessions including T-Mobile receiving a large package of AWS mobile spectrum in 128 Cellular Market Areas (CMAs), including 12 of the top 20 markets.

Humm, who admitted the company had been fairly quiet during the past nine months after AT&T announced its planned (and later failed) acquisition of the company, said that nevertheless T-Mobile has been working hard to keep its focus on its business in the interim. He noted that the company had invested in 250 more T-Mobile-branded retail stores, built partnerships with companies such as SAP and also invested in its 4G network.

On its network specifically, T-Mobile announced it doubled the speed of its 4G network in 12 additional markets, offering HSPA+ 42 to 12 additional markets. The move brings its HSPA+ 42 network to 184 million POPs in 175 markets. In addition, T-Mobile expanded the reach of its nationwide HSPA+ 21 network to nine additional markets, now covering 217 markets across the country and reaching more than 200 million people.

Humm admitted that the company has been impacted by churn and that the brand has been impacted. However, he pledged to reinvigorate the brand and also strengthen T-Mobile's business-to-business space. Interestingly, Humm also said that the company is open to MVNO businesses and will be focusing on keeping its 4G services thriving. "T-Mobile is back," Humm proclaimed.

In an interview earlier in the day with FierceWireless, T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray indicated that the company is working on its next step in the technology roadmap, which is to deploy HSPA+ 84. "The network will be ready and can support HSPA+ 84 mid-year," Ray said. "But devices are the difficulty. We are working with the OEMs."

He added that although chipmaker Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) has said that it will not produce HSPA+ 84 enabled chipsets until the second quarter of 2013, there are other chipmakers that are willing to fill that gap because they see an opportunity. "There is some scale with HSPA+ 84," he said.

However, Ray didn't rule out the possibility that T-Mobile will deploy LTE.  "There is some potential opportunity for LTE if we decide to do that," he said, adding that the company could look at refarming some of its 1900 MHz spectrum. 

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