Speaking during the recently held MoffettNathanson Media & Communications Summit, T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray confirmed that the carrier now covers 280 million POPs (Points of Presence) with LTE service, which equals Sprint’s current LTE coverage depth. Neville also confirmed the company’s goal is still to cover 300 million POPs with LTE coverage by the end of the year, with the aforementioned milestone being achieved much sooner than expected. As a point of comparison, both AT&T and Verizon claim LTE coverage of 308 million POPs
The company’s LTE coverage expansion is expected to increase the number of markets where the carrier can operate a retail location to offer service to new or underserved customers currently unable to purchase T-Mobile service, either due to lack of coverage or lack of retail presence.
Regarding the recently announced expansion of 700Mhz coverage which included such major markets as Dallas, Texas earlier this year, Neville further confirmed that T-Mobile has either already cleared or has contracts to clear out TV transmission in the spectrum (the holdings cover Channel 51 in the analog UHF band) in additional markets to resolve interference concerns for a large swath of points of presence, estimated between 140 million of the 190 million that the spectrum holdings currently cover.
The carrier has already expanded 700Mhz coverage in Detroit, Houston, Philadelphia, Tampa, Fla; and San Antonio, Texas this year alone and plans to continue expansion in order to hit the 300 million POP milestone. T-Mobile also plans to shut down the MetroPCS CDMA network on June 21, and CFO Braxton Carter confirmed that there are now fewer than 300,000 subscribers still on the old network.
The company still needs to shut down the CDMA network in Dallas, Miami and New York City and around 80 percent of MetroPCS spectrum from its CDMA network has already been integrated into the T-Mobile network as of the end of the first quarter of this year. CTO Neville Ray also stated that T-Mobile is able to integrate MetroPCS spectrum and legacy hardware into its network very quickly and has already completed part of the integration work in Dallas and New York, ahead of said shutdown.