Friday, May 3, 2013

MetroPCS Evolves

MetroPCS and T-Mobile have merged.  That's not news.  What happens next is going to be important.  T-Mobile becomes a much stronger carrier after gaining significant spectrum as a gift from the failed AT&T acquisition, and spectrum brought to the table with the MetroPCS merger.  Not only does T-Mobile get more spectrum, they get it in the largest markets and they get it contiguous to their existing spectrum.  This a powerful combination.  T-Mobile has become a contender, at least technically.

MetroPCS is now supposed to become a nationally-available prepaid service which will be operating on those new T-Mobile frequencies.  MetroPCS will continue to use their old CDMA network for the next couple of years which depends heavily on roaming partners to achieve nationwide coverage.  But now who needs MetroPCS?  Analysts suggest it might focus on the low end of the market, potentially the "credit-challenged."  But so does T-Mobile's own Prepaid and fledgling GoSmart Mobile.

Like Sprint's purchase of Nextel, the MetroPCS name may disappear.  Remember, most of the country has never heard of MetroPCS.  Unlike Nextel, MetroPCS comes with a hefty dowry of spectrum, so the name may not hold much value.  Are either "Metro" or "PCS" even relevant terms these days?  We will maintain it as a separate brand among our wireless network reports and coverage maps, but if MetroPCS becomes no more than a mirror image of T-Mobile Prepaid it may end up on our Wireless Archives page or among Alternative Networks.  With so much spectrum to work with we hope they find their niche.

No comments: