Setting The Stage: Logistics Behind 5G And Talks Of Industry Mergers

Mobile Industry News for the Week of March 6, 2017

5G continued to dominate the wireless news this week. As such, operators are starting to consider the logistical details behind deploying 5G, such as acquiring spectrum licenses and managing costs. Another pending change in the wireless industry is cable and carrier mergers, as both Verizon and now T-Mobile both consider it a possibility. The stories on our minds are below.

Let’s get technical about 5G — During Mobile World Congress last week Deutsche Telekom expressed concern about expensive spectrum licenses hindering their ability to deploy 5G systems, particularly within Europe. There’s actually a chance it won’t. Citing Amit Nagpal with Aetha Consulting, Light Reading writes that operators won’t spend as much as they did in the past simply because there will be an abundance of high frequency spectrum for 5G and the price per MHz will be lower. Lower frequency bands (sub-3.5Ghz) will remain desirable and probably more expensive for wide-area coverage, but it’s not going to affect operators’ budget drastically because there’s enough spectrum to work with at 3.5GHz. As a result, 3.5GHz may become a “pioneer” 5G spectrum band, increasing its valuation for a short amount of time. As 5G is gaining widespread popularity, many operators are considering how it will affect their business models.

Cable over carrier mergers — During a conference this week, T-Mobile CFO Braxton Carter made it clear that the company is more interested in merging with a cable company than with another carrier. According to Fortune, many have speculated a T-Mobile and Sprint merger, but Carter seemed doubtful that it would make sense from a regulatory and financial standpoint for Sprint. On the other hand, he believes that a successful cable merger, particularly on a national scale, could help lower operating costs and provide new monetization opportunities. Verizon is also considering a cable merger with Charter Communications, so this year may bring changes for both industries.

What news stories are on your minds this week? We’d love to hear what stories you’re dialing into.