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Wireless Carrier Review: T-Mobile

T-Mobile calls itself the "Un-carrier" in an effort to distance itself from other mobile carriers and is one of the top three wireless network providers in the United States.

The wireless company has about 75,000 employees and is headquartered in Bellevue, Washington, as of 2020, according to Statista. The company completed its merger with Sprint in April 2020, and it operates several brands, including T-Mobile for Business.

T-Mobile offers several mobile solutions for businesses, such as 5G, Internet of Things (IoT) and corporate phone plans.

See below to learn more about T-Mobile: 

Mobile solutions

5G network

Although it stands behind AT&T and Verizon in 5G market share, T-Mobile's nationwide Extended Range 5G network, comprised of low-band spectrum, is the most widely available 5G network in the U.S. Competitors have focused on speedier 5G, but T-Mobile's approach to rollout makes low-band 5G, closer to 4G speeds, available in both urban and rural areas.

T-Mobile has also launched high-band, or millimeter-wave (mmWave), 5G in select U.S. metropolitan areas, including Atlanta, Cleveland, Dallas, and Los Angeles. 

T-Mobile's market share hovers under 10 percent and that's a great number, according to T-Mobile’s EVP of business. T-Mobile feels it is in a good position, especially considering the growth of the 5G market in the past year. By making its 5G more available to enterprise customers and offering business plans, T-Mobile has ample opportunity to compete with the other two major carriers. 

T-Mobile's widespread low-band network coverage has made 5G available in areas of the country that rarely have access to advanced tech. In recent years, T-Mobile has clearly stated its goal of bringing 5G to rural regions and small towns. This includes building brick-and-mortar stores as well as installing network base stations and cells.

The wide availability of T-Mobile's 5G, especially in rural regions, means that companies in non-metropolitan towns can take advantage of the provider's wireless network for their mobile operations.

a map showing T-Mobile's 5G coverage in the US.

T-Mobile's map visualizing their United States 5G coverage

5G also enables broader remote work choices: many employees now work remotely and use their mobile devices for work. T-Mobile suggests that enterprises begin adopting 5G now, noting that employees need reliable network access and the ability to work from any location.

IoT solutions

T-Mobile offers multiple Internet of Things business solutions. 

IoT Connectivity Management is an automated solution managed through a T-Mobile Control Center. The Control Center allows users to manage costs for their IoT devices and provision hardware.

Users can select the network technology and Control Center features they want. T-Mobile designs a specific solution or IoT plan based on their company’s needs. T-Mobile also has an IoT Narrowband solution available to IoT users: Narrowband is an advanced LTE wide-area network (WAN) that maximizes network utilization, battery life of radio hardware, and power. It's best for industrial organizations. 

T-Mobile's IoT solution for remote monitoring allows businesses to observe their environments through automated sensors and manage those environments remotely. These use cases include temperature-controlled environments for food or medicine, offices that need to be protected from disasters, and parking areas. 

Part of the remote monitoring solution includes an employee safety feature: workers can press a button if threatened or endangered, and Bluetooth technology tracks their location, so help can find them. This is an especially helpful feature for organizations that regularly have employees working alone and coming into contact with others outside the company, such as in the hospitality industry.

Business phone plans

T-Mobile has small business and enterprise plans for companies that want to purchase phone lines for employees. 

There are three Business Unlimited plans: Select, Advanced, and Ultimate. All plans have unlimited talk, text, and cellular data. They also include unlimited 4G LTE and 5G data. The Advanced and Ultimate plans also come with one basic and one standard license for Microsoft 365 Business.

The Enterprise Unlimited plans also offer 5G unlimited access and unlimited data. In Mexico and Canada, users have unlimited call, text, and data. The plans include scam blocking and caller ID insights to help companies limit the number of illegitimate or non-business calls they receive. 

Network performance

The “5G User Experience Report” by the mobile analytics firm Opensignal awarded T-Mobile five out of the seven Opensignal Mobile Experience awards. The report on Q1 2021 network testing focused only on 5G speeds and connections. 

The reporting firm Ookla also ranked T-Mobile as the fastest overall carrier in Q1 2021, citing 5G time spent, performance, and consistency. 

Ookla’s report is “just the latest to prove” that T-Mobile is a leader in 5G, said Neville Ray, president of technology at T-Mobile.

User opinion

T-Mobile ranks highest in J.D. Power's “U.S. Business Wireless Satisfaction Study” — not just in 2020 but since 2017. 

T-Mobile won each category: Large Enterprise, Small/Medium Business, and Very Small Business.

The study measured wireless satisfaction across six factors: performance and reliability; customer service; sales representatives and account executives; billing; cost of service; and offerings and promotions. 

T-Mobile has partnered with its client, the city of Wichita, to test technological processes that the city considers implementing, according to a T-Mobile case study

In 2019, Wichita's government wanted to be ready for advanced technology and began working with tech partners and taking calculated risks. 

T-Mobile was a partner to Wichita during its series of tech experiments, according to the city's CIO Mike Mayta 

Mayta distinguishes between being only a vendor and being a partner: T-Mobile, for example, loaned tablets to the city, so law enforcement could try using them, and it didn't work out. The city, however, wasn't stuck paying for tablets that they couldn't use.

Partnerships

T-Mobile has partnered with Nokia, which provides radio access technology for all three 5G spectrums. Nokia's hardware, AirScale cells, provide access to low-band, high-band, and mid-band 5G. The partnership will also provide transition from LTE to 5G as T-Mobile updates its LTE network.

Longtime T-Mobile partner Lumen Technologies will continue collaborating with T-Mobile. Lumen's Edge Computing platform and T-Mobile's 5G radio access combined will help the corporations run applications in a diverse range of environments. T-Mobile and Lumen have partnered before on networks, and they'll continue to work together in environments like T-Mobile labs and the Lumen Edge Experience Center.

T-Mobile has partnered with its client, the city of Wichita, to test technological processes that the city considers implementing, according to a T-Mobile case study

In 2019, Wichita's government wanted to be ready for advanced technology and began working with tech partners and taking calculated risks. 

T-Mobile was a partner to Wichita during its series of tech experiments, according to the city's CIO Mike Mayta. 

Mayta distinguishes between being only a vendor and being a partner: T-Mobile, for example, loaned tablets to the city, so law enforcement could try using them, and it didn't work out. The city, however, wasn't stuck paying for tablets that they couldn't use.

T-Mobile is a founding partner of the 5G Open Innovation Lab, an organization that brings 5G and IoT technology and research to startups. 

Open lab partners provide mentorship to small companies, allowing them to attend meetings and potentially collaborating with them if both companies wish to develop an official partnership.

Through the lab, T-Mobile participated in the Food Resiliency Project in Bellevue, Washington, in 2021 by providing 5G and edge computing technology. The Food Resiliency Project aims to improve agricultural productivity by using advanced and accurate data. 

Financial position

T-Mobile (Nasdaq: TMUS) reported net income of $3.1 billion in 2020, down from $3.5 billion in 2019, on revenue of $68.4 billion.

The company also reported non-GAAP free cash flow of $3 billion in 2020 and total debt and financing lease liabilities of $73.6 billion, excluding tower obligations. 

T-Mobile spent $9.3 billion, less than the other major carriers, on the auction for mid-band spectrum in March 2021. The company is focusing on a multi-band 5G strategy and still has some extra mid-band from its acquisition of Sprint.

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TAGS:

networking, T-Mobile, un-carrier, 5G, IoT