T-Mobile Gets Tech

by Colin Berkshire

Verizon thinks 5G is going to allow people to connect their lightbulbs and toasters to the internet. They think this is possible and that people will pay $5 per month per device to do so. Never mind that 5G frequencies cannot penetrate walls, and signals travel only hundreds of feet.

T-Mobile seems to have a grasp of technology that AT&T and Verizon lack.

T-Mobile is going to gore Verizon and AT&T because they do get it.

The secret lies in 600 MHz. That’s not 5G. It’s old recycled television frequencies.

You see, T-Mobile just purchased gobs of 600 Mhz bandwidth. These frequencies were eschewed by Verizon and AT&T because they travel long distances (30 miles) and penetrate everything…elevators and basements alike. How can you possibly use something like that where a cell size is 1000 square miles?

The answer is overlapping cells, a technology that T-Mobile is preparing to launch and that cell phones will begin to have in a year or so.

Today you get good service if you are in range of a T-Mobile tower. But if you are in an elevator or basement, or in a rural area you get no signal. That’s where 600 MHz steps in by penetrating far into the unreachable areas. Suddenly you get coverage EVERYWHERE, and for cell phone users that’s a big deal. It means you get service at your summer retreat up in the mountains.

But because 600 MHz cells are so large (up to 1000 square miles) they can saturate. So with overlapping cells, if there is a LTE tower nearby your phone will use that instead of the 600 MHz frequency. T-Mobile can provide enormous reach, and as the 600 MHz towers fill up they can cherry pick where to add LTE towers based upon actual customer usage. This offloads the 600 MHz towers.

But a different problem happens in urban areas and venues such as a sports arena. The LTE towers fill up to capacity. And, because these towers have a minimum range, it’s not possible to keep stacking towers on top of towers to increase coverage.

In these areas you use 5G. 5G is great for cherry picking high density areas and providing enormous bandwidth to hordes of people.

With overlapping cells you have the most amazing possibility: 600 MHz to reach absolutely everywhere, then LTE to provide coverage in higher density areas, and finally 5G to reach into concentrated pockets with lots of people like a mall or freeway corridor.

Two technologies make this possible: Overlapping cells and 600 MHz (with a sprinkling of 5G.)

So while Verizon is dreaming of getting you to subscribe to a monthly plan to connect your toaster, T-Mobile is about to provide excellent coverage to every corner of the country.

Verizon and AT&T just sold off some of their useless 600 MHz frequencies. T-Mobile is buying.

My bet is on T-Mobile. I think they have a master plan to gore Verizon and AT&T. Those carriers won’t reach into far off territories with their LTE, and in high density corridors they will not have enough capacity.

T-Mobile’s plan of migrating people to Unlimited data coverage is brilliant. It is a Trojan horse because Verizon and AT&T will saturate. Meanwhile I predict that by 2020 or 2022 T-Mobile will be the company that has the best network EVERYWHERE.

Go get’em Legere.