During its fourth quarter earnings call, T-Mobile has confirmed that its current work transitioning MetroPCS customers to its GSM network is well ahead of schedule, with three markets being decommissioned this year instead of starting next year as originally planned.
The three CDMA markets being decommissioned are also three of the youngest expansion markets for the previous version of MetroPCS in Las Vegas, Boston and Philadelphia, all three being launched between 2010-2011 before MetroPCS became an acquisition target after the failure of the AT&T/T-Mobile merger in 2012-2013.
T-Mobile Chief Financial Officer Braxton Carter noted in an answer to a media question during the earnings call that the incentive programs used to move customers away from the MetroPCS CDMA network to T-Mobile’s GSM and LTE network have been more successful than anticipated with more than 3.5 million or about 40 percent of MetroPCS customers purchasing devices that work over T-Mobile’s network, with about 25 percent of the spectrum that T-Mobile acquired as part of the MetroPCS purchase being re-farmed for T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network.
Carter also stated during an interview with CNET after the conference call that there should be very little disruption to existing MetroPCS customers after the CDMA network shutdown, as there are anticipated to be only a small number of customers still using an older device in the aforementioned markets when the shutdown is complete due to the greater than expected success of the transition.
Carter also stated that customers who haven’t yet migrated devices will be supported through roaming agreements already in place. Finally, T-Mobile’s first devices with support for the 700Mhz A-block spectrum purchased from Verizon Wireless will begin launching later this year, while LTE will be rolled out on the spectrum next year. The coverage area for the 700Mhz spectrum is below and is taken from the presentation.