When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. And when life hands you $4 billion in cash and wireless spectrum because your merger with AT&T couldn’t pass regulatory muster, you build out a 4G LTE network.
That’s the situation at T-Mobile US, which has announced it will be plunking down that $4 billion toward the launch of an LTE network next year. It hopes to have the higher-speed service rolled out to the top 50 U.S. markets over the next two years… by which point we’ll all probably have moved on to communicating via chips implanted in our skulls.
This is a case of better-late-than-never for the nation’s fourth-largest wireless carrier. It had put its plans on the back-burner last year when AT&T announced it would buy T-Mobile USA from its parent company Deutsche Telekom for $39 billion.
Because of this delay, T-Mobile is the last of the major wireless companies to show up to the LTE party. It also does not yet have the iPhone, unlike AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and even a few much smaller companies.
As a result, T-Mobile lost 802,000 contract wireless customers in the fourth quarter of last year, more than triple the decline of a the same period from the year before.