T-Mobile Tech President Neville Ray has kept us updated
on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the way its customers use their wireless plan. Earlier this month, Ray noted that hotspot use by customers was up 60% on a monthly basis, use of educational tools ahead 135%, video game playing 85% higher, and the use of food delivery apps ahead by 23%.
T-Mobile's Neville Ray says that the carrier is seeing the new normal of wireless usage
Today, Ray disseminated a tweet
revealing some new information on the use of T-Mobile and Sprint's networks (on April 1st, T-Mobile announced the completion of its merger with Sprint). Over the last few weeks, data traffic has been rising sharply as Americans have been working from home, learning from home, shopping from home, and keeping themselves entertained constantly. But Ray says today that wireless usage on both networks is leveling off and has reached what he calls the new normal.
Ray says that tethering on the T-Mobile network is up 57% and has grown 70% on Sprint's pipeline, and continues to remain at these levels. The use of educational apps is up 148% nationally and a stunning 268% in New York City. In the Big Apple, T-Mobile worked with the school district to help provide LTE connectivity on tablets for students.
Accompanying the tweet is a video made by Ray in which he says that both T-Mobile and Sprint' s networks "held up well" despite severe weather issues that some of the country had to deal with. Praising the "amazing teams" that take care of the networks, the executive said, "they're managing changes in traffic, restoring storm damage...all while taking necessary measures to keep themselves safe and healthy."
Talking about the importance of having wireless service during the COVID-19 outbreak, the carrier's Tech President said that "fast, reliable wireless" is more important now than ever before as Americans try to stay together while staying apart. The most important thing, Ray points out, is that students continue to be educated by using virtual learning and accessing educational tools while stuck at home. T-Mobile and Sprint have helped over 500,000 students connect to the internet over the last month; these students come from more than 820 schools and school districts across the country.
According to the video, some Twitter subscribers pointed out to Ray that a competitor was encouraging their subscribers to save their monthly data by using Wi-Fi while home. This was a perfect opening for Neville to remind everyone that T-Mobile is giving all of its customers unlimited high-speed data. He also notes that T-Mobile's network speeds have actually risen.
This is an interesting time for those of us who write about T-Mobile. Sprint's 2.5GHz mid-band spectrum now belongs to the wireless provider after what feels like years talking about it. T-Mobile says that adding this "meat" to the 600MHz low-band and mmWave high-band "bread" will produce a tastier 5G sandwich with download data speeds eight times faster in a few years and 15 times faster in the next six years. In addition, T-Mobile's capacity will expand by a factor of 14 over the next six years.
According to Wall Street's New Street Research, T-Mobile and Dish are the carriers best positioned to make it through an upcoming recession
. The analysts say that with a 20% price advantage over Verizon and AT&T, the carrier could pick up enough new customers to tie Verizon as the nation's top wireless provider. New Street says that Verizon's postpaid business will "grind to a halt" in a recession while improvements in AT&T's prepaid Cricket Wireless service won't be enough to make up for weakness in its postpaid business. The bottom line is that T-Mobile will take advantage of its more affordable pricing.
Are we in a recession? Traditionally, we don't know until we are already weeks into a weaker economy.