Light Reading – Is T-Mobile’s 5G Plan Just a Pipe Dream?

John Legere, the belligerent, potty-mouthed boss of T-Mobile US, is famous for ranting about his bigger rivals’ shortcomings.

He is also quick to pounce on any opportunity for self-promotion, and justifiably regarded as something of a marketing genius. “Every time he says something it sounds fantastic,” says Bengt Nordström, the CEO of the Northstream market-research and consulting group. “When you read the small print there are always strings attached.”

As Brown points out, T-Mobile’s 5G announcement also comes shortly after it splashed $8 billion on a swathe of 600MHz spectrum, having previously been a comparative weakling in the sub-GHz game. As T-Mobile brings these airwaves into use, and swaps out equipment, it “would need a good reason not to try to deploy 5G,” says Brown.

Nordström is in broad agreement. “From 2019 operators will [start to] replace existing legacy base stations that are too expensive to upgrade with multi-standard, multi-frequency equipment,” he says. “Operators could then allocate network resources in those base stations to 5G if they so wished.”

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