Hitting 5G coverage target drives T-Mobile US to drink

T-Mobile US has upped the ante in the attention-seeking stakes and is marking hitting its 5G coverage target ahead of schedule with the launch of a branded gin.

There’s no obvious link between mobile connectivity and gin – apart from perhaps needing a stiff one after trying to get through to your provider’s call centre – but it’s a bit of PR fun and who are we sniff(ter) at that.

The mobile operator is obviously keen to shout about its 5G prowess. It has extended coverage to 300 million people across the US significantly earlier than its end-year goal; six months earlier, in fact.

“Now, we’re gonna celebrate in a way ONLY T-Mobile would — by bottling the Un-carrier spirit,” said Mike Sievert CEO of T-Mobile, in a statement in his usual style. Bonus points to the telco for shoehorning in the uncarrier message there.

T-Mobile’s Ultra-capacity 5G, which uses mid-band 2.5 GHz and mmWave spectrum, is available to 150 million people, it said; it is shooting for 200 million nationwide by the end of this year.

T-Mobile made the usual comparisons between itself and AT&T and Verizon, insisting that its 5G coverage is twice as broad as AT&T’s and four times ahead of Verizon’s, “and the Un-carrier keeps widening its lead,” it said.

That last point is questionable. With Verizon in particular, but also AT&T, having shelled out tens of billions of dollars for C-band spectrum earlier this year – we don’t need to hammer out the figures again – T-Mobile is going to face stiffer competition pretty soon. AT&T and Verizon are already working hard on C-band rollouts; a fortnight ago AT&T announced its first C-band call with Nokia, for example, while in May Verizon shared details of its progress in aggregating C-band and mmWave frequencies for 5G. Both companies should be able to launch C-band later this year, with more of their recently-acquired frequencies becoming available over the next couple of years. T-Mobile is ahead of the game now, but its big rivals have a lot invested in catching up…and if anything, that’s an understatement.

For now, though, T-Mobile has earned the right to party. Would-be revellers can order a bottle of T-Mobile 5Gin <groan> from Thursday; at the time of writing, the firm had yet to disclose the price, incidentally. The gin, made in partnership with Heritage Distilling Company, is available in limkited quantities, as befits a company keen to make a marketing splash. In in the interests of inclusivity, T-Mobile has also co-created a non-alcoholic option, 5Ginger Beer and even offered some typically cheesy and unsubtle cocktail recipes.

The telco is not the first to put its name to a beverage, although despite years of walking the halls at myriad industry trade shows, I can’t remember another in the telecoms space. Do correct me if I’m wrong. However, it is in good company in the broader market. Earlier this week classic rock band Kiss launched the aptly-named Cold Gin, while electric car pioneer Tesla put its name to a tequila that flew off the shelves last year, despite a $250 price tag, to name but two…and that’s before you get to Ryan Reynolds…who actually does bridge the gap between telcos and booze, come to think of it.

There are many more out there, but rest assured, your Telecoms.com team pledges to research the branded booze market thoroughly and share our findings…should we be able to remember them.

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Etiquette rules for the sidewalk? I know that sounds strange, so let me explain. 

A colleague recently called me and wanted some help. She said that she had been out walking and saw a couple approaching her on the sidewalk. She wanted to follow today’s social-distancing guidelines, and she realized that the other people were going to be too close to her if everyone continued walking straight. Her question: “Who should have moved over?” 

This question highlights an etiquette dilemma in our coronavirus-dominated world —to ensure adequate space between people outdoors, who moves out of the way when two or more people are sharing a walkway? 

This situation may arise more frequently as people are being encouraged to exercise. David Pogue, a correspondent for the television show Sunday Morning on CBS News, did a segment this week on How to live AND work at home without going stir crazy. His fifth rule was “Go Outside.” His suggestion was to take walks with people who live with you, but steer clear of others.

Obviously, etiquette concerns are nowhere near as critical as getting needed masks and respirators to hospitals, but having answers for day-to-day situations can help people to stay safe, and also give them a sense of having some control in our uncertain world.

Below are guidelines to help you safely navigate sidewalks and walkways shared with other people: 

1. Pay attention. Notice your surroundings and anticipate. If you are talking on the phone or texting, it’s easy to become distracted and not notice someone coming your way. If your view is obscured for any reason – such as when you are approaching a corner – you may be unable to see someone walking directly toward you. Be aware of that possibility, and proceed cautiously until you can see what’s ahead. You don’t want to bump into people!  

2. Who moves? If someone is approaching and you realize you’ll be too close when passing each other, what are you to do?  Generally, it is the responsibility of each walker to move to the right when passing so that there is at least six feet between you. If the person approaching you is walking with a cane, pushing a baby stroller, or struggling with agility issues, you are the one who should move out of the way. Bottom line: Don’t stand on ceremony. If you believe that someone will be too close to you, move over!   

3.  Walk single file. If you are walking side by side with someone – even if you are several feet apart – go to single file when passing others. If you don’t, you put the person approaching you in the awkward position of deciding whether to go around one of you or to go between the two of you. 

4. Don’t hog the sidewalk. If you block the walkway when you stop to chat with someone – from a safe distance! – or to let your dog do his business, it’s your responsibility to move aside and let other people pass.

5. Pass people carefully. If you want to pass someone, make your presence known. You can call out “behind you” or “on your left” so you don’t startle the person. You then move to the left, keeping your social distance. The other person can also move to the right, making it easier for the person who wants to pass.  

6. Greet others. People can hear a “good morning” or see a wave from six feet away. Even though we are social-distancing, we still want to be social. (See my blog on Greeting Others In A Social-Distancing World.) And remember, if someone says “hello” to you, good manners require that you say “hello” back.  

7.  Wash your hands when you return home. You don’t know what you might have touched while you were out. Frequent hand-washing is high on the list of recommendations for fighting this coronavirus. 

Additional information about etiquette and your career can be found in Barbara Pachter’s book, The Essentials of Business Etiquette: How to Greet, Eat, and Tweet Your Way to Success (McGraw Hill). Other books by Pachter include The Power of Positive Confrontation and The Communication Clinic

Pachter & Associates provides seminars and coaching on business etiquette, presentation skills, career advancement, professional presence, and business writing. For additional information, please contact Joyce Hoff at Joyce@pachter.com or 856.751.6141.