Firstly, you should care because the combined company will eventually become a force with which to be reckoned. We say “eventually”, because the down-side is that in this industry mergers traditionally result in an extended, negative impact to service and support levels. This alliance has been a long time coming and has been covered in many previous articles. However, between now vs. then may affect your future state network plans.
You should care because the combined company will eventually become a force with which to be reckoned.The vast benefit of this merger is mobility, specifically 5G. Think way outside the box though, because the major advantage is not to smartphones and tablets, which of course will benefit greatly, but more to terrestrial networks. One of the major tenets of network transformation is to improve overall performance (latency and throughput) by leveraging neutral datacenters, robust transport to connect core/large locations, and nimble, inexpensive access to feed your myriad of offices utilizing more sophisticated devices (e.g. SD-WAN).
Up to this point cable broadband has been the staple of such access strategies, but it has taken a long time to reach satisfactory up/down bandwidth, is not ubiquitous, usually requires an aggregator or multiple suppliers to provide, and can be prohibitively expensive to install (e.g. “special construction” charges). High speed 5G mobility will change that, restricted only by its ability to connect to a service tower. And Sprint is already on the way to mitigating that issue by using small, unobtrusive yet efficient cellular signal booster technology which it has named the “Magic Box”. This solves the problem of a cellular telemetry connection only working “when the garage door is open”.
Enterprises use 4G technology today in this configuration, but it focuses more towards back-up connections or primary connectivity at very small locations. 5G technology will effectively provide the more robust bandwidth needed to run an SD-WAN enabled network as primary connectivity, and provide the benefit of data pooling across many distributed locations.
Although every mobile carrier will argue the comparative benefits of its mobility package, inclusive of its 5G roadmap, Sprint has already bet heavily on this path and will now be vaulted forward as the result of its merger with the mobility-centric T-Mobile. The added benefit is that Sprint will remain a terrestrial network player with a robust backbone, so should be able to play well when competing for transport circuits.
So, we believe that you should care about this merger because it should provide you with a stronger, technologically enabled, more capable, competitive and hungry player in the market. As we tell our clients, “We want you to have tough decisions, because it means that you have many good options from which to choose”.