T-Mobile, Sprint trash-talk their own networks in bid to merge

T-Mobile CEO John Legere and Sprint Executive Chairman Marcelo Claure met with FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel last week, along with other executives. The meeting was set to discuss the approval of the $26 billion merger between T-Mobile and Sprint, according to an FCC filing.

The company representatives obviously are trying to convince the FCC to give the merger its stamp of approval. But, as part of their presentation, they described deficiencies of their two standalone companies.

T-Mobile’s shortfalls include:

  • Thin 5G layer nationwide
  • No widespread high-speed broadband
  • Cannot keep pace with growing demand with low pricing
  • Insufficient mid-band capacity
  • Limited solutions at increasing costs to address rising congestion on T-Mobile’s network

And according to the companies, Sprint’s deficiencies include:

  • Limited, localized 5G
  • Uncovered pops = 41%
  • High speeds unavailable where coverage is week, especially in-building
  • Large amount of 2.5GHz locked on LTE
  • Reliant on expensive-to-deploy 2.5GHz spectrum for coverage

If their merger doesn’t get approved, they’ve certainly given a lot of ammunition to their competitors’ marketing departments in the future.

Sprint, by the way, didn’t denigrate its network in February when it announced the initial rollout of 5G. “Wireless customers are soon going to have their first mobile 5G experience with Sprint, and it won’t be limited to their home or a millimeter wave hotspot,” said Sprint CTO John Saw in a prepared statement. And Sprint CEO Michel Combes said at the time that its 5G network was “not just for five customers, it’s for millions of customers.”

In their presentation to the FCC last week, the two companies argued that their merger would eliminate the shortcomings of their individual networks because each would fill in the gaps of the other. 

They reiterated their contention that combining Sprint’s 2.5GHz deployments with T-Mobile’s build-out of 600 MHz spectrum would deliver improved services to underserved rural areas. And they said augmenting T-Mobile’s 600 MHz low band spectrum with mmWave would bring additional speed to dense urban areas.

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