T-Mobile CEO boasts spectrum depth for FWA, enterprise prospects

T-Mobile’s aspirations are well-known in the areas of fixed wireless access (FWA) and the enterprise.

It’s going after cable’s lunch with FWA in a big way, adding 560,000 high-speed internet customers in the second quarter. In the enterprise space, it’s been talking about doubling its share to 20% in the next few years.

But what’s not discussed so much is how much spectrum T-Mobile brings to the table, according to T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert. He noted during the company’s earnings call Wednesday that T-Mobile now covers 235 million people with its mid-band Ultra Capacity 5G, thanks mostly to 2.5 GHz, while AT&T covers over 70 million and Verizon covers 135 million with their mid-band deployments.

“What’s really interesting is what Neville [Ray] said about the depths of spectrum across that 235 on average. He said 110 megahertz of mid-band, plus 30 of low band, 140 dedicated to that 5G layer, and that’s unique and it will be unique for some time to come,” Sievert said.

“It really allows for the kinds of capacity throughput and performance that we have been talking about on this call,” he said. “It opens up not just high-speed internet opportunities but really exciting opportunities in the business space that our competitors can issue press releases around, but where we are ready to execute and support businesses right now with advanced network 5G services. So we will talk more about that later.”

Verizon certainly has talked about the $30 billion opportunity it sees in the 5G era, something that includes mobile edge compute (MEC), private networks, IoT and enterprise solutions. But the largest U.S. carriers have yet to show any significant revenues from the enterprise space due to 5G.

Standalone (SA) 5G is where a lot of those advantages are said to come, and T-Mobile is the only U.S. operator boasting a nationwide SA network. Yet it’s not demonstrating a lot of products or services there yet – at least, not in a very public way.  

During the earnings call, MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett asked about the new revenue opportunities, aside from fixed wireless, that come from 5G, such as MEC, private networks and IoT.

Sievert said they’re a lot further along in this space than one might surmise from their press releases. Plus, they’re hesitant to make forecasts when it’s so early in the game.

Competitors “haven’t had much choice about that,” and have gone ahead with stating some big aspirations in this area, he said. “But our view is it’s an emerging market and we can achieve what we set out to achieve, generally speaking, in the core business.”

That being said, “there are exciting things happening, and what’s interesting is this 5G network leadership is getting us conversations with CIOs, CEOs, the corner office that our company never earned before,” he said.

T-Mobile Business Group President Callie Field said it’s been an exciting time to talk with CIOs and CTOs who are looking for ways to manage costs and get connectivity, suggesting they understand the benefits of 5G SA.

As part of its Internet Freedom launch in May, T-Mobile launched a business internet offering. It’s significant for businesses because, she said, T-Mobile is the only one who can provide a truly nationwide 5G internet service and it’s getting into the doors of places like Tractor Supply, Circle K and AutoZone. They’re also talking about edge compute solutions and IoT connectivity to help solve business problems, she said.

One of the “ins” it has with enterprise is its Coverage Beyond offer, which is meant to be attractive for business travelers. Last month, T-Mobile introduced Coverage Beyond, which includes free high-speed data in 210+ countries and destinations and in-flight connectivity on some U.S. airlines.

“We’re seeing the lowest levels of business phone churn in our history and I think we just heard that Verizon reported some of their highest,” she said. “And so we are growing in business. We’re growing in enterprise and SMB and in the public sector as well, and we are very interested in where we’re headed with these advanced network solutions.”