Some of T-Mobile's latest commercials detailing its nationwide 5G service show the Sprint logo for perhaps one of the last times on television. And as you walk along the street, that store you used to pass by with the bright yellow letters on the sign is going to look different. On Instagram, Jim Arca, T-Mobile's Director of Construction, shared a photo of the letter's being removed from a Sprint store in an outdoor shopping mall. With the post, Arca, who isn't an official spokesman for the carrier, wrote, "It's starting to happen."
T-Mobile's Director of Construction says that the closing of Sprint stores is "starting to happen."
The T-Mobile-Sprint merger finally closed on April 1st, 23 months after being announced by the carriers' CEOs at the time, John Legere and Marcelo Claure. T-Mobile wanted to make the purchase in order to obtain Sprint's mid-band 2.5GHz spectrum. This allows T-Mobile to put into place its 5G triple layer cake made up of low band, mid-band, and mmWave spectrum. T-Mobile says that its capacity after six years will be 14 times what it would have had without Sprint's mid-band spectrum. In a few years, its 5G download data speed will be eight times faster than its current LTE speed; in six years its 5G data speed will be 15 times faster than its current LTE data speed.
While the plan was to start advertising as one brand earlier this summer, the pandemic has reportedly pushed back the timing and T-Mobile previously announced that this will happen on August 2nd. The goal will be to provide a unified customer experience with pricing and uniforms the same across all retail locations. Starting at the beginning of next year, all T-Mobile and Sprint employees will supposedly be together under one system. Based on Arca's Instagram post, it appears that some of the Sprint stores are beginning to make the transition to T-Mobile. With three major U.S. carriers, the plan is for Dish Network to replace Sprint as the "fourth nationwide facilities-based network competitor." Exactly three months after the T-Mobile-Sprint transaction closed, T-Mobile and Dish Network closed on the deal that allowed the Justice Department to green light T-Mobile's purchase of Sprint. For approximately $1.4 billion, Dish purchased 9.3 million prepaid customers from Sprint along with 400 employees and 7,500 retail stores. For $3.6 billion, Dish bought 14MHz of 800MHz spectrum.
While some Sprint stores are being changed to T-Mobile locations, others are just closing for good. Earlier reports indicated that in a situation where a Sprint and a T-Mobile store are in close proximity to each other, the tie goes to magenta. However, back in May, Wave 7's Jeff Moore took a photo of a T-Mobile store in Kansas that was supposed to be shuttered temporarily; it has now closed permanently even though there was no sign before the COVID-19 outbreak that it would do so. Meanwhile, a Sprint store in Lawrence, Kansas stays open. It usually costs more to rebrand a store which is why it was surprising that the latter store wasn't closed and the T-Mobile store kept open. Of course, Sprint's headquarters remains in Kansas which might explain why certain decisions were made.
To allow it to sell wireless service to customers before finishing the construction of its 5G standalone network, Dish entered into a seven-year MVNO deal with T-Mobile. Once its 5G network is ready to go, Dish will transition its customers over from T-Mobile's network to its own 5G network. To pay for its new network, Dish is going to need a deep-pocketed partner and that could be the next exciting chapter of this long-running deal. Among the companies rumored to be interested are Disney, Google, and Amazon.