This week, Deutsche Telekom and MetroPCS Communications agreed to combine T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS into a new, larger mobile network operator to that will offer low-cost wireless services both domestically and globally.
Why is this a big deal? One reason is because this is the first CDMA2000 operator that Deutsche Telekom has ever acquired. This will give T-Mobile USA a nascent CDMA2000 network in fourteen markets in the United States. Normally, this could be quite problematic, since integrating and maintaining a CDMA network alongside T-Mobile’s GSM-based network could become a nightmare. However, MetroPCS has already committed to eliminating CDMA2000 from its network platform within two years without T-Mobile’s help. This changes nothing for MetroPCS in terms of its CDMA network. MetroPCS is already not investing in CDMA and focusing on expanding and bulking up its LTE network. It is entirely possible that this tie-up will accelerate MetroPCS’ plans to shut down its CDMA network.
Additionally, this jumpstarts T-Mobile’s LTE network in metropolitan areas. MetroPCS’ network (which is on the exact same spectrum that T-Mobile’s LTE network will be on and on the same spectrum as T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network is and will be on, as well) covers all fourteen markets that the CDMA2000 network covers, and uses equipment similar T-Mobile’s HSPA/LTE network equipment. MetroPCS’ network even has VoLTE (voice over LTE) deployed and commercially available in Dallas, with plans to expand to all MetroPCS markets in four to six months! Since MetroPCS and T-Mobile are using compatible core network equipment from the same vendor, it is a simple matter to bridge everything together to extend those capabilities out for MetroPCS subscribers to T-Mobile’s full network.
The combination of the spectral assets of both companies will allow the new company to offer DC-HSPA (with up to 42Mbps throughput and latency as low as 30ms) in all major metropolitan markets as well as 15MHz LTE with the option to expand it to 20MHz LTE-Advanced with the shutdown of CDMA2000 over time. MetroPCS’ PCS (1.9GHz spectrum) network (in the few markets it has that) will be fully converted to HSPA+ and LTE. MetroPCS also has additional AWS (1.7/2.1GHz spectrum) in markets where it has not deployed anything, and T-Mobile can take advantage of that immediately for LTE.
Next page: As complex as it sounds…