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.