T-Mobile Puerto Rico customer base exceeds 1M after fusion with Sprint
The culmination of its integration with Sprint, and the sale of AT&T’s wireless operation in Puerto Rico, has boosted T-Mobile’s business, which at the end of 2020 exceeded 1 million in customers for the first time, T-Mobile Puerto Rico General Manager Jorge Martel said.
While sharing 2020 results, Martel said T-Mobile saw an 8% growth in its total customer base year-over-year — including individual and corporate customers — during an “atypical” 12 months in Puerto Rico that began with an earthquake and moved into the COVID-19 pandemic.
During a virtual meeting with members of the media, Martel said it has been precisely the pandemic that has also boosted the carrier’s “beyond the smartphone” category — which includes tablets, hotspots and smartwatches — by 54%. Its T-Mobile for Business category grew by 35% in 2020.
“The impact of the pandemic has been evident when seeing how Puerto Ricans have had to study, work and socialize remotely, so we saw strong growth in that category of all types of communications tools,” he said. “The pandemic also changed the way we do business, as we had to adjust overnight to the needs of our customers.”
As for the carrier’s overall performance, Martel noted that its stores in Plaza Carolina and Plaza Las Américas ranked #1 and #2, respectively, as top sellers of devices and accessories among all of T-Mobile’s retail outlets across the nation.
Looking ahead to the rest of 2021, Martel disclosed that as it moves forward on combining the Sprint and T-Mobile networks in Puerto Rico, it should result in a 12% expansion in the footprint, year-over-year.
“We have the biggest 5G network in Puerto Rico and by joining forces with Sprint, we’re immediately seeing the benefits. During the last quarter of 2020, we made great strides and presently, 79% of our radio bases are equipped with 5G, and 98% of the population already has access to 5G,” he said.
Puerto Rico is T-Mobile’s second market with the most data traffic, the first being New York. The island also has the best company-wide metrics in network operations, he said.
Also on the radar for 2021 are plans to launch internet at home, Martel said.
“We’re working to make sure that we have the necessary network capacity because we believe we’re going to have a very large reception [to the service] and we want to be ready in that sense,” Martel said, confirming that the service will be available through a wireless hotspot device.
According to the Federal Communications Commission, Puerto Rico is the US jurisdiction with the lowest broadband penetration rate, so providing a new at-home service “has to be the same or better in terms of quality when compared to what’s available in the market,” he said.