As the CEO and founder of a medium-sized prepaid wireless business, I’m thrilled about the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint. T-Mobile’s growth over the last six years has been one of the great American success stories. The “Un-Carrier” has taken on AT&T and Verizon, the two industry goliaths, by driving down prices, creating scores of new businesses, and supporting thousands of jobs throughout the U.S. economy. The combination of T-Mobile and Sprint promises more of the same—and on a much grander scale than we’ve ever seen before.
My company is a testament to the fruits of T-Mobile’s success. I’m the CEO and founder of Talk More Wireless, a medium-sized business that owns and operates independent stores that sell devices on Metro by T-Mobile’s prepaid wireless plans. Cost-conscious consumers have flocked to Metro by T-Mobile (formerly MetroPCS) because they don’t want to empty their wallets for high-priced plans on AT&T and Verizon. When I founded Talk More Wireless in 2002, we ran 12 MetroPCS stores and had just a handful of employees. Our business went through fits and starts until 2013, when T-Mobile acquired MetroPCS. At the time, we didn’t know what to expect. Many naysayers predicted that “consolidation” would lead to job losses, higher prices for prepaid plans, and the shuttering of wireless dealers like ours.
But nothing of the sort happened. T-Mobile doubled down on Metro by T-Mobile and invested heavily in the prepaid market. T-Mobile developed expertise in serving cost-conscious consumers and promoted the Metro by T-Mobile brand through attractive price plans and creative advertising. As a result, Metro grew from a smaller regional player to a household name powering more than 15 million devices. As T-Mobile’s footprint expanded to rural America, so too did our Metro dealer stores.
Today we operate more than 140 stores and employ nearly 700 people across 16 states, from Brownsville, Texas, to Portland, Maine. Following the T-Mobile acquisition, we capitalized on strategic growth opportunities for our Metro stores and with our added scale, we developed a retail management platform that helps make our operations more efficient, profitable, and convenient for consumers. Talk More Wireless is currently the fastest growing Metro by T-Mobile Authorized Dealer chain in America.
Now, T-Mobile wants to apply the same formula to Sprint, the fourth-place carrier that has struggled financially in recent years. Together, the two companies will have the financial means and network resources to build a bigger and better 4G LTE wireless network that will push deeper into underserved parts of America. The combined investment and spectrum assets of T-Mobile and Sprint, for example, promise broader coverage and faster speeds for Metro by T-Mobile customers, more retail stores for dealers like Talk More Wireless, and greater access to a third (or, in some cases, a second) option for rural Americans who are tired of being stuck with AT&T and Verizon. Talk More Wireless expects to triple its store count within 18 months of the merger’s closing.
But here’s what excites me more: the merger’s prospects for “5G,” the next generation of wireless internet. 5G networks will deliver blazing fast internet speeds capable of replacing in-home broadband, bringing connectivity to virtually every device imaginable and supporting applications like artificial intelligence that are too data-intensive for our current 4G networks. Just as the transition from 3G to 4G created the platform to launch Twitter, Airbnb, and the rest of the mobile ecosystem as we know it, the evolution from 4G to 5G will support countless new American industries and jobs. With plans to invest nearly $40 billion within the first three years of the merger and bring a nationwide 5G network sooner than otherwise possible, the New T-Mobile will push AT&T and Verizon to do the same. As the New T-Mobile develops a nationwide 5G footprint on a faster timetable, dealers like Talk More Wireless will be there to help rural and cost-conscious Americans reap the benefits.
T-Mobile’s record of bringing mobile broadband to underserved Americans speaks for itself, and I can’t wait to see the great things that T-Mobile and Sprint can do together.
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