Spectrum talk isn't sexy, but it's damned important. And this morning T-Mobile and Verizon announced a deal that's going to benefit both carriers. T-Mobile's snagging more AWS spectrum (that's the 1700 MHz stuff they need for their 3G/4G data, and next year's LTE rollout) from Verizon, and it's all part of (and contingent on) a bigger (and controversial deal) that nets Big Red additional spectrum from the likes of SpectrumCo, Cox Cable and Leap. Once that deal goes through, Verizon will flip some of that bandwidth back over to T-Mobile, and everybody not named AT&T and Sprint benefits.

The deal also boosts T-Mobile's position in 15 of the top 25 markets, it says, including Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; Detroit; Minneapolis; Seattle; Cleveland; Columbus, Ohio; Milwaukee; Charlotte, N.C.; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Greensboro, N.C.; Memphis; and Rochester, N.Y.

T-Mobile Signs Spectrum Agreement With Verizon Wireless

T-Mobile to Improve Portfolio of Nationwide Broadband Spectrum Following Regulatory Approval

Net Gain of Spectrum Will Assist Rollout of LTE in 2013

Bellevue, Wash. — June 25, 2012 — Today, T-Mobile USA, Inc. announced an agreement with Verizon Wireless for the purchase and exchange of certain Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum licenses in 218 markets across the U.S.  The transaction will improve T-Mobile’s spectrum position in 15 of the top 25 markets in the U.S. by providing an opportunity for T-Mobile both to acquire additional AWS spectrum and to realign its existing spectrum holdings.  Following regulatory approval, this spectrum can be promptly deployed to enhance the company’s 4G mobile broadband service, including the rollout of LTE service next year. Some of the spectrum T-Mobile is acquiring in this transaction include licenses that Verizon is purchasing from SpectrumCo, Cox and Leap, and the agreement is contingent on the closing of those transactions and is subject to regulatory approval by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Department of Justice.

“This agreement will provide T-Mobile with critical AWS spectrum, enhancing both network capacity and performance and allowing us to meet the growing consumer demand for 4G mobile broadband,” T-Mobile CEO and President Philipp Humm said. “This is good for T-Mobile and good for consumers because it will enable T-Mobile to compete even more vigorously with other wireless carriers. We anticipate FCC approval later this summer, in time for us to incorporate this new spectrum into our network modernization and the rollout of LTE services next year.”

T-Mobile will gain spectrum covering 60 million people — notably in Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; Detroit; Minneapolis; Seattle; Cleveland; Columbus, Ohio; Milwaukee; Charlotte, N.C.; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Greensboro, N.C.; Memphis, Tenn.; and Rochester, N.Y. — in exchange for spectrum covering 22 million people and certain cash consideration. The agreement also includes exchanges in a number of markets in which the companies will swap licenses to create more contiguous blocks of spectrum and re-align spectrum in adjacent markets. These intra-market swaps will enhance T‑Mobile’s network performance and data throughput in key locations. This agreement is in addition to T-Mobile’s previously announced $4 billion 4G network evolution plan, which includes modernization of 37,000 cell sites, launching 4G HSPA+ services in the 1900 MHz band and deployment of LTE in 2013.


Reader comments

T-Mobile buying AWS spectrum off Verizon in mondo deal


Great news as I am in the Memphis area. I can't wait to ditch Verizon once my contract is up next year.

I'm in Memphis as well. Verizon has horrible service here with regards to speed if you aren't on LTE.

I'm on T-Mob now, and get pretty good coverage throughout the city. Not so much once you leave Shelby Co (typically E or G), but it's quite fast in and around Memphis with typical speeds of around 5-7Mbps.

I'm all for the other networks improving their coverage. When Verizon kicks my 5 lines off the unlimited grandfathered plans I'm jumping ship.

it's all part of (and contingent on) a bigger (and controversial) deal that nets Big Red additional spectrum

Parenthesis placement is important.

I am GLADLY leaving Verizon June 28 2012 amd taking my 2lines of service over to tmobile. My first purchase will be to get the Galaxy S3 June 28th. Then my second line of service will be for the upcoming Galaxy Note 2 in October or the upcoming new Nexus in November depending on which is better. This is a happy day I will be selling my CDMA Galaxy Nexus from Verizon on Tuesday...So long Verizon

Wow. You sure do jump around a lot. I remember you YELLING about how great the OG EVO, EVO 3D, & Sprint were. Then the Galaxy Nexus/Verizon. Now you are moving onto T-Mobile & Galaxy phones, huh? Let me guess...next year it will be AT&T & Motorola phones, or were you with them before you got with Sprint? LOL!

I may be switching to Verizon, but I'm going to be seriously interested in 2 years to see the state of most networks. Everyone is moving to one standard: LTE. Yes it may not be inhabiting the same spectrum, but its at least on the same standard. Its going to be fascinating to watch T Mobile and Sprint play catch-up to ATT and more importantly Verizon. We may finally have some honest to god competition if most of the market has a robust network. That said. I have faith in Sprint to somehow manage to screw this up yet again. First it was backing WIMAX, then LightSquared. So we'll see what happens.

Oh, I really hope T-Mo's signal improves in the D.C. area after this deal is completed. It can be very spotty sometimes. You would think an area as important as D.C. would get some of the best signals around the country.

As a brand new T Mobile customer I look forward to moves that make T Mob a stronger carrier. Still, as a NYC resident I'm VERY HAPPY with my TMO service after 11 years of Sprint.

Go Magenta!!

Hmmmmmmm that doesn't have the same ring as when we say "Go Big Blue" cause of the Superbowl Champion New York Giants.


WIN! T-Mobile is by far the best U.S. carrier in terms of customer service and their network is pretty damned good to begin with and this just makes it all the better. Add in the spectrum that AT&T had to give them due to the failed merger and it's really good for T-Mo customers. Not to mention an outstanding offering of Android handsets and fantastic pricing! Woot! By the time this all gets lined up and lit up I will be due for my upgrade to whatever the latest and greatest is in Q1/2013.

I would like to see T Mobile merge with Sprint allowing for global phones to operate on either network. They then would have enough size to combat the big two.

Rochester, NY is a top 25 market?

It would be nice for TMobile to get some better coverage here though, give me an option other than Verizon.

I can't say I like this because T Mobile doesn't really care about its customers. It's all about money. Now don't get me wrong, because we all work for money. It's just that T Mobile tricked me into paying more for less service than my original contract. I won't go into detail about what T Mobile did to me but T Mobile needed a lot more money than they had to enable this, so how do you think they got the money? They lied to their customers & wrongly acquired the money to do this. I'm sorry but integrity means a lot to me!