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Re: Does anyone else smell another Sprint-Nextel catastrophe?
If I was running the show, I wouldn't be so quick to make enemies with Sprint. They could be a key partner in shutting down MetroPCS's CDMA service quickly and freeing up ex-Metro spectrum for LTE.
MetroPCS already has a roaming agreement with Sprint such that their phones more or less see Sprint as native coverage. TMobile could get the terms of the agreement modified such that ALL CDMA voice and data traffic on MetroPCS would be farmed out to Sprint, removing the need to keep CDMA service going on MetroPCS towers (which can be a bit expensive spectrum-wise, since for a CDMA deployment you need 2.5MHz of paired spectrum including a guard band, and 1.25MHz per additional CDMA channel).
By the time the two companies merge, T-Mobile will probably already have LTE in NYC and Dallas, so that takes care of the data hungry 4G side of MetroPCS devices. At this point, they can turn off the MetroPCS cell sites (which I guarantee they'll do in most cases), remove the equipment and use the spectrum for the T-Mobile LTE network in those markets.
The next step of course is to incentivize current MetroPCS customers, starting with those with CDMA phones, to switch to HSPA T-Mobile phones. The plus side here is that T-Mobile's low-end phones (comparable to MetroPCS CDMA-only phones) will be comparably priced and have access to faster data than MetroPCS phones had (Metro didn't have EvDO in a lot of their footprint). For LTE phones, the push to switch things over will be less swift, as most of their usage will be data, which will already be on T-Mobile.
One thing I expect to come out of this merger is a renewed focus on non-contract plans from T-Mobile. They may just do this under the MetroPCS brand, or retire the MetroPCS brand altogether, but they now have too big of a non-contract base to ignore, like it or not.
DFW's progress is a joke, NYC is getting there... It's not exactly going quick by any means but it's still making more progress than DFW IIRC. LA has tons of towers so this market will take some time. Then you have Florida, and Michigan one of which is underway (Florida) but I have yet to see any actual numbers/completed sites. I know work in Florida is being done, tons of reports of it to show that, but nothing has gone live as far as I can see.