By Mike Sievert, CEO of T-Mobile
This week marks the one-year anniversary of our official close to the T-Mobile and Sprint merger — two sets of amazing employees, the best leadership team in the industry, and an unmatched set of network assets and resources that have come together to create a Supercharged Un-carrier.
Over this past year, despite an unprecedented set of external circumstances, we’ve been all systems go. In fact, 2020 was our best year ever as a company, as we recorded a record 102 million customers and overtook AT&T to become America’s #2 wireless provider! But this merger was always about more than just financial and subscriber results. Much more. It was about a promise of 5G FOR ALL and taking on the competition like never before.
Combining our companies gave us even more fuel to take that Un-carrier spirit to new heights … and to more boldly challenge the status quo — fighting harder than ever to eliminate customer pain points. This merger made us bigger and gave us the opportunity to be better for our customers — and we’ve seized it.
A Year of Progress Builds a Foundation for What’s to Come
Back when we announced this deal, we said that a combined T-Mobile would deliver a transformative nationwide 5G network, better products at unmatched value, increased competition and access to underserved communities. Over the past year, we have used our increased size and scale to deliver on all of this, while also driving toward even bigger aspirations.
We said 5G for ALL, and we meant it. Neville Ray and his team are delivering a network build that is second to none and bringing that transformative 5G network to millions of people. Our 5G network benefits from a unique combination of dedicated low-band and mid-band spectrum assets from the merger, and these assets — along with our record-breaking build-out pace — have put us in the clear leadership position at the start of the 5G era.
In fact, we have the largest, fastest and most available 5G network in the country. Period. In 2020, we launched the world’s first nationwide standalone 5G network, and today it provides on average 2x faster speeds than LTE to more than 287 million people across 1.6 million square miles — more than two times the geographic coverage of AT&T and nearly four times that of Verizon’s 5G. Our Ultra Capacity 5G covers 125 million people already in 2021, providing game-changing speeds across the country. And we’ll cover 200 million people by the end of this year! We said we’d build a transformative 5G network, and that is exactly what we are doing.
We also shared that we had big plans to offer better products and unmatched value that would increase competition. Leveraging our network’s unprecedented capacity, we can now offer customers a combination of BOTH quality and value. As our competitors scramble to get out of the starting blocks on coverage (just look at the recent C-band auction results for proof!), we are busy using our well-established assets to offer our customers the best rate plans at low prices, including free access to 5G.
Just a few of my favorite examples of our progress include Connecting Heroes, our free service for first-responder agencies that can save them up to $7 billion over the next decade. Or services like Scam Shieldthat protect our customers from the billions of scams and robocalls they get every year. And maybe the best one yet, Magenta Max, the first plan that truly unleashes the capacity and speed of our 5G network to ensure customers will never be slowed down based on how much data they use.
We’re also squarely taking on the Cableopoly with our expansive home broadband plans and our evolved TVision TV solution — including incredible value and choices from our partners like Google and Philo. We have big goals to increase competition in home broadband over the next five years and bring 7 million to 8 million customers the benefit of our low costs, high speeds and 5G reliability, as well (stay tuned for more on this soon!). And not to be forgotten, maybe one of our largest opportunities to shake things up is in the Enterprise and government segments. We are already bringing new choice and competition to millions of business and government customers, including long-overlooked small businesses. We are approaching 10% share in Enterprise but see room to run here with a market share over the next 5 years reaching about 20%!
We also said that we would expand access to underserved communities, and we are. Before the merger, T-Mobile committed to providing network coverage for 90% of rural Americans in the next few years, and we’re well on our way to achieving that goal. Through network coverage and a growing retail fleet of 15,000 branded stores, we’re starting to bring more choices and access to small towns and rural markets than ever before.
We also launched our $10.7 billion Project 10Million initiative during a time when connectivity has been more important than ever. To date, we’ve helped bridge the digital divide for more than 2.5 million underserved students nationwide with free or highly subsidized connectivity, and we are just getting started. Top that off with our five-year Equity in Action plan, fueled by a $25 million investment over the next five years, and I’m immensely proud of our dedication to diversity, equity and inclusion across this entire business. We all still have work to do, but we are helping to create opportunities for underserved and underrepresented communities every single day.
Most important, our obsession to make customers happy remains front and center. It is an important differentiator, and customers have noticed. We’re proud of our record-breaking win from J.D. Power U.S. Wireless Customer Care — for the 21st time in a row! We’re going to keep delivering incredible experiences from end to end. Sprint customers who are coming over to our network and enjoying Un-carrier benefits are happier, too — to the tune of net promoter scores that are about 100% higher for those who have migrated into the T-Mobile system.
In the end, our mission is simple. We want to be the Best in the World at Connecting Customers to Their World, and I believe we are well on our way. During this first amazing year, we’ve done exactly what we set out to do from the very beginning. We’ve strived to deliver better service, at the best value, with standout customer service and experiences. And I’m more confident than ever about what’s to come with our industry-leading 5G network and expansion into rural America, broadband plans, business and government expansion … and more. Best of all, the scale and synergies from our merger allow us to grow and innovate as a business, achieve record financial results and ultimately pass that value on to our customers!
As we enter our second combined year as T-Mobile, our future is so bright — and you can see it in the audacious goals we now aspire to achieve. It’s clearer than ever why our future ambitions are bigger and bolder than our standalone companies ever could have been. Simply put, we have the winning formula to achieve our vision — to be #1 in customer choice and #1 in customers’ hearts!
We’re just starting to write this story. As exciting as it was to close our merger, Year 2 is already shaping up to be at another level.