Friday, October 28, 2016

Coverage: People vs. Property

There have been tremendous claims of improved coverage for the #3 and #4 wireless carriers but what's the real story?  It's fairly accepted that Verizon and AT&T have coverage over a large part of the United States...maybe 95%..  Then, you have Sprint and T-Mobile who have coverage over a much smaller geographical area.  It could be less than 50%.

If we then introduce the "population covered" measurement, things change dramatically.  AT&T and Verizon probably cover closer to 98% of the population, where Sprint and T-Mobile cover a little less...let's just guess 93%.  Isn't that almost as good?  They're all within a 5% difference!  Remember, we not talking about reliability (you know, the "1% difference?")

Wait.  There's another measurement.  Coverage for where we travel.  Some of us may never leave town and some often fly over those vast areas of uncovered real estate.  Then there are those of us who wander just a little farther out of town and...out of coverage.  So we stop being the 90-somethings, and start being the 50-somethings.  T-Mobile has actually done something about their rural coverage gaps and continues to agressively acquire spectrum in the 700 MHz band.  They indeed cover a bigger per cent of America.  That's better than a bigger per cent of Americans.  Did you catch the nuance?

For some of us it seems silly to point out the difference.  But when you hear a carrier claim they cover "95% of Americans" out.  Those are the Americans who stay on the couch and munch potato chips.  The rest of us may tend to wander.

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