Last year T-Mobile announced the completion of its merger with Sprint. The goal was to provide a more reliable network and gain a greater foothold in the market. So, how has the telecom industry been affected since the merger? And what does this mean for the future of telecommunications?
Overview of T-Mobile Merger
T-Mobile announced a promise of 5G for all on its network after the merge with Sprint. The term “supercharged Un-carrier” was coined for the new T-Mobile. The company, while post-merge is still named T-Mobile, has committed to bringing Americans more affordable and more reliable service at a time when connections to friends and family have never been more important.
This new broadened version of T-Mobile has 14 times the capacity it had a mere six years ago. Due to the “enhanced scale and financial strength” of these two companies combined, T-Mobile plans to invest $40 billion towards greater development of these goals by 2023. With the implementation of all improvements, analysts believe this stronger company could unlock $43 billion for shareholders.
T-Mobile Merger Expands Coverage
The company boasted building more infrastructure in urban and underserved rural areas to get more Americans connected to 5G networks. The current goal of T-Mobile is to have their 5G network available to 99% of Americans by 2027. T-Mobile is also the parent of Project 10 Million which offers free internet and hotspots to over ten million families with students.
Progress A Year Later
T-Mobile posted their best year ever in Q4 of 2020. While the merge was still ongoing, revenues and postpaid phone customers were up. In addition, their 5G coverage range expanded significantly.
T-Mobile led the telecom industry in customer growth, closing out 2020 with the best year of all other nationwide carriers and their personal highest close in four years. The company closed out the quarter with a net total of 1.7 million new customers (over 5 million new customers for the year).
In Q4 alone, T-Mobile brought in revenues of over $20 billion and nearly $70 billion for the whole year. It’s safe to say that the T-Mobile merger with Sprint certainly boosted the telecom giant’s profile.
Largest 5G Network
T-Mobile also now has America’s largest 5G network covering 280 million customers – this is almost 4 times that of Verizon and almost two-and-a-half times that of AT&T. The company’s financials for 2021 are just as strong, and it expects to keep growing far into the future with growth and expansion plans going into 2027.
Furthermore, this year T-Mobile announced its “Connecting Heroes” service providing free, unlimited services for first responder agencies. This is in addition to their “Scam Shield” service which helps more consumers block robocalls.
Rich Call Data
T-Mobile announced it completed its first test of “rich call data” under the STIR/SHAKEN framework. This has the potential to streamline and change the way caller ID information displays. In addition, it may potentially streamline caller ID information across networks.
The FCC implemented STIR/SHAKEN in an effort to reduce the number of unwanted, spoofed, and fraudulent calls plaguing consumers over the past few years.
Market Share Improved with T-Mobile Merger
With all the success of T-Mobile throughout the past year, their market share has increased. T-Mobile made up 16.9% of the US cellular market at the beginning of 2020. This jumped to 24.9% at the beginning of 2021. While AT&T still holds a significant portion of the market (at 44.8%), T-Mobile is closing in on Verizon (at 29.1%). Also, T-Mobile was only second to AT&T as far as revenues – AT&T had over $161 billion while T-Mobile was close with $116 billion.
When T-Mobile merged with Sprint, the FCC was worried there would be too few carriers run by too few companies. The FCC’s worries were abated when T-Mobile forewent gaining Boost Mobile, Sprint’s prepaid cellular service option, which was instead acquired by Dish Network, satisfying the FCC’s requirements.
Competition in the market is a good thing for consumers. It allows them more options and forces companies to consider what consumers want from them. Most networks have eliminated contracts and offer streaming service packages with their plans now. With more people connected to 5G, streaming is becoming a more important incentive.
Scanning For Flagged Numbers Across Carriers
Carrier fragmentation has been an issue for some time for businesses. Your caller ID may appear one way on one network, but completely different on another. While offering reliable services to consumers, businesses may not feel the same effects, especially if their numbers have been spoofed and consumers have begun flagging the company inadvertently.
Differences in Enhanced Caller ID
Rich call data might streamline caller ID displays in the future, but it isn’t available just yet. In the meantime, carriers use different “enhanced caller ID” services, call blocking apps and data than each other. So a business number might receive flags on one carrier but not another.
This fragmented information – and sometimes inaccurate information – provides unfair treatment to some companies that may be engaged in honest work. For example, doctor’s offices and hospitals may get inadvertently flagged by consumers. This can happen for a variety of reasons such as dialing too heavily, or just erroneous flagging from consumers.
Know Your Reputation
When conducting outbound calls, you don’t know the recipient’s carrier. To some of your customers or leads your calls may appear fine. But to others you may display as “potential spam” or “scam likely”. This is why phone number monitoring is essential to scan your numbers across all major carriers and data aggregators. If you find you have flagged numbers, you can then take the correct action to remedy your number and protect your caller ID reputation.