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T-Mobile Sees Competitive Advantage In Network, Phones

Bellevue, Wash. –T-Mobile executives expect to continue grabbing market share not only because of its recent marketing moves but also by offering high-demand smartphones like the iPhone 6 and by operating a network that’s in better shape to handle data growth than the Verizon or AT&T networks.

During a conference call with investors, executives said products such as the iPhone 6, 6 Plus and Samsung Galaxy Note 4 represent a share-taking opportunity in the fourth quarter because it is a device-driven period. President/CEO John Legere pointed to AT&T as a source of new T-Mobile subscribers, contending that 20 percent of AT&T’s customer base “is not locked down” into contracts.

Separately, Legere called T-Mobile’s recent iPhone launch “the biggest launch we ever had,” but CMO Mike Sievert noted that tight supplies of the iPhone 6 will continue into November. Supplies of the iPhone 6 Plus will remain tight “into the majority of the fourth quarter,” he said.

In outlining T-Mobile’s capacity to handle data growth, CTO Neville Ray pointed out that T-Mobile has more spectrum per customer than AT&T or Verizon and that the company expects to expand its LTE coverage from the current 250 million people to 280 million by mid-2015 and to 300 million by the end of 2015. The company has also rolled out Wideband LTE, or LTE with bandwidth of 15+15MHz or 20+20MHz, in 19 markets and expects to hit 26 by year’s end.

The carrier is also rolling out 700MHz LTE spectrum, owning or having agreements to own 700MHz in markets reaching 176 million people, including nine of the top 10 markets and 22 of the top 30.

The first 700MHz cell sites are up and running, and several devices with the band are available, including the Samsung Note 4, Ray said. Eight more devices are planned for this year, and in 2015 all new LTE phones will have the extra 700MHz LTE band, he said.

T-Mobile has also begun on an as-need basis to convert its 1900MHz spectrum to LTE. More than 40 markets deliver LTE service over 1900MHz, with more to come soon. The “vast majority” of the company’s LTE devices already support LTE in the 1900MHz band, Ray noted.