T-Mobile $200M investment increases 5G service in West Virginia
CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – A major investment to bring more cellular service to West Virginia is now complete.
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice and executives from T-Mobile shared the results of a $200 million investment which brought 377 new towers and upgraded 121 existing towers to bring more West Virginians online to a world-wide 5G network. According to Justice’s office, the investment T-Mobile has put into the Mountain State “significantly improved” connectivity for West Virginians, particularly in the more rural and underserved areas of the state.
Company officials say during T-Mobile’s 2020 merger with Sprint, they made a commitment to improve mobile service availability for small towns and rural areas across the country. With T-Mobile’s 2021 acquisition of Shentel Wireless, the company focused efforts on making their networks available for West Virginians.
“Part of T-Mobile’s promise when we merged with Sprint was to build a more connected country leveraging 5G,” said Ulf Ewaldsson, T-Mobile’s president of technology. “Our work in West Virginia with Governor Justice is a testament to what’s possible when time, resources and teamwork are invested in places previously underserved, and I am proud that T-Mobile is opening the door for people and businesses to be better connected than ever before.
T-Mobile executives say because of this investment:
- 100% of interstate highways in the state are now serviced with T-Mobile 5G.
- In just two years, T-Mobile access for West Virginians has gone up by 30% – a 500,000 person increase – meaning now 90% of West Virginians have access to the company’s 5G network.
- Ultra Capacity 5G is now available for 70% of West Virginians. According to the governor’s office, Ultra Capacity 5G delivers a median download speed of 99.98 Mbps statewide, which is 41% faster than what was available in 2021.
- There are now expanded backup power sources for instances of severe weather that could impact mobile services.
According to T-Mobile Executive Edwige Robinson, the investment has also brought jobs to West Virginia. She says the 21 new stores alone brought 150 new employment opportunities, and the construction of new towers and upgrading existing ones brought even more jobs to the state.
“We want to say thank you. Thank you so much for welcoming T-Mobile to West Virginia. Collectively, we are bringing high-speed wireless to communities around West Virginia – from homes to businesses,” said Edwige Robinson, executive with T-Mobile. “And for me personally, I understand the value of digital literacy. So having the ability to do your homework at home, having the ability to have access to jobs you didn’t have access to before, having the ability to do business around the world from West Virginia is amazing.”
According to T-Mobile executives, the company has also been working on recent upgrades to bring high-speed broadband to West Virginia.
The governor’s office says a recent study from the West Virginia Broadband Enhancement Council found that 90% of respondents had home internet, but 60% of those respondents did not have access to high-speed internet. Through this investment, 400,000 homes across West Virginia now have access to T-Mobile’s 5G high-speed internet.
Justice says another recent study showed because of this investment, there was a 66% increase in median download speeds from 2022 to 2023.
“West Virginia’s journey toward improved connectivity is a testament to the power of collaboration,” Justice said. “We’ve been working diligently with T-Mobile and other partners to ensure that all corners of our state have access to the tools and resources they need tho thrive in the digital age. The $200 million investment by T-Mobile is a game-changer, contributing to wider 5G coverage and faster internet speeds for West Virginians. We are incredibly grateful for their investment in our state. It’s a testament to the power of partnerships and our collective commitment to building a brighter future for all West Virginians.”
Justice says some counties that have benefited from the investment, some of which include their first-ever introduction to 5G services include, Barbour, Braxton, Marion, Monroe, Nicholas, Summers, Upshur, Webster and Wyoming counties.