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T-Mobile confirms deployment of small cells project, new areas covered by 600MHz

With its launch of a 600MHz network in Puerto Rico three months away, T-Mobile executives confirmed that the company continues to invest in its 4G LTE network with a variety of improvements of which its customers can already take advantage.

Jon Freier, executive vice president of T-Mobile U.S., visited the island to announce that the company has deployed a “small cells” system in strategic locations which will add every more capacity and speed to areas with high population density.

With this recent investment, T-Mobile continues to strengthen its expansion strategy in advance of arrival of 5G, in 2019 or during the first quarter of 2020. The exact launch hinges on how quickly device manufacturers can put them on the market, Freier said.

“We’re going to continue investing in Puerto Rico and laying the foundations for the 5G launch. Our 5G experience will provide 600MHz access to many people, instead of just a few,” Freier said.

The company has already blanketed 95 percent of Puerto Rico with 600MHz, and will extend it to Vieques during the first quarter of 2019. Puerto Rico’s other island municipality, Culebra, is already on the network.

“This way, we can transform the island into an innovation and technology hub that will, in turn, create a stronger and more competitive economy,” he added.

“At T-Mobile, we will invest in areas of the business in order to provide the best technology infrastructure for Puerto Rico,” Freier said, without specifying how much the company has invested and will budget for the technological rollout in coming months.

Meanwhile, “small cells” system that has been deployed is made up of radio bases placed in already existing installations, located in high density population zones. These are being deployed in the extended metro area, in municipalities such as San Juan, Bayamón, Carolina, and Caguas, said Jorge Martel, general manager of T-Mobile Puerto Rico.

The clients in these areas are already reaping in the benefits of high-speed downloads, of up to 400Mbps, in those places where these cells have been activated. In addition, T-Mobile confirmed that it has installed “tower top ready” equipment in its towers in preparation for the 5G network deployment, he said.

During 2018, T-Mobile experienced “solid” client growth, while reestablishing its network during this past April, after hurricane María’s landfall. These are some of the most outstanding achievements:

  • 40 percent increase in net additions vs. 2017.
  • 16 percent increase in customer base.
  • Lowest churn index.
  • Improvements in all network metrics, including the fastest 4G LTE network in Puerto Rico for two years in a row.
  • 12 percent expansion in island-wide coverage.
  • Puerto Rico’s customer service center is #1 in all metrics.
  • 160 new jobs and recognition as Puerto Rico’s Best Employer.

The company also made investments in store remodeling and improvements — including the opening of three new locations: Plaza Centro, Plaza Cayey, and Plaza Carolina — and the implementation of a 100 percent digital system in all stores to provide a more personalized and efficient service. Only one store, formerly located at Plaza Real in Humacao, has not been rebuilt, as the mall was destroyed by Hurricane María.

But Martel explained that during the first quarter of 2019, T-Mobile will bring a trailer that will be converted into a retail store to serve the community in Humacao, as it rebuilds a store there.

Furthermore, he revealed that T-Mobile will also introduce two stores-on-wheels to the Puerto Rico market next year, which can act as pop-up retail locations or be used to assist communities directly.

“2018 has been a record year and I’m sure that 2019 will be an even more successful one, we will keep investing in Puerto Rico and listening to our clients. We’re very grateful at all the support we have received, and we won’t stop,” said Martel.

Both executives anticipated that 2019 will be a year of continuous network investments with new technology, as well as retail expansions that include widening digitalization efforts and electronic services (e-Services), among others.

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