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T-Mobile nearing deal to buy 700MHz spectrum from Verizon

In return, Verizon to receive cash and AWS spectrum in certain markets

T-Mobile could potentially be ready to wrap up a big deal for some of Verizon's spectrum. According to a report from Bloomberg, the carriers are nearing a deal to transfer 700MHz "A block" spectrum from Verizon to T-Mobile for somewhere in the neighborhood of $3 billion. Verizon initially purchased the 700MHz spectrum in 2008 for $2.6 billion. Further, the deal may also see T-Mobile transferring some AWS (that's 1700/2100MHz) spectrum to Verizon for certain markets. 

If approved by the FCC, the 700MHz spectrum transfer would be applicable to about 150 million people, indicating that this would be quite a large pickup for T-Mobile. The nation's fourth-place carrier currently holds spectrum in the 1900MHz and AWS bands, which is less expensive and fully functional, but can't always penetrate buildings in dense cities properly.

Adding 700MHz could be just what T-Mobile needs to round out its network offerings, so long as it plans to have the spectrum for a good amount of time and starts to deploy devices that support the frequencies. Sources claim the deal could be finalized as soon as next week.

Source: Bloomberg

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

72 Comments
  • Moving on up! Posted via Android Central App
  • So Sprint may get some 700mhz spectrum as well, nice
  • I see what you did there.
  • Spot on,old chap! posting while eating gummybears in your girlfriends bedroom
  • lol...nice
  • That deal won't happen because AT&T will become a monopolized carrier of GSM. Currently only T,-Mobile & AT&T have GSM networks. Posted via Motorola Xoom tablet
  • Nope You run them together. World phones. Switching based on signal strength. didn't we cover this yesterday? Oh and advanced LTE will make it all moot since everyone will be the same
  • The sooner you accept that none of the T-Mobile customers want this the sooner you can stop replying to every comment about it. I don't care about yoshi-son, sprint, softbank or what works best for you. Sprint LTE is garbage in my area. My brother gets about 5 mbps down on sprint LTE while I get 11 mbps down on T-Mobile hspa+ and around 28 mbps down on T-Mobile LTE. So why would I want a merger to happen? Posted via Android Central App
  • Yes but, and this is a big but, legacy networks will most likely carrier voice and other traffic for the foreseeable future. VoLTE is much farther off due to technical issues, ie weaker LTE signal strength than legacy networks, than you are approximating. Running two networks side by side is a bad plan, ie look to Sprint and Nextel.
  • The GSM CDMA thing is irrelevant, but people keep bringing it up. Everyone is moving to LTE and CDMA is only around long enough to make the transfer. For example, T-Mobile just merged with MetroPCS (CDMA carrier). The important thing was they used the same frequencies so it adds to their LTE coverage.
  • THose that do not want it to happen will not listen to it
  • Yes Posted via Android Central App
  • I think there are far larger consumer-facing issues with a Sprint T-Mobile merger than network incompatibilities. Posted via Android Central App
  • I don't think it will happen because it might hurt their business. Sprint is bleeding customers and a lot of people have moved to T-Mobile from other carriers. If said acquisition did occur I'd definitely jump ship.
  • Great tablet. Posted via Android Central App
  • never happening Posted via Android Central App
  • Great news! Thank God my N5 support those bands
  • I just hope T-Mobile starts expanding it's network instead of just beefing up what it currently has in place. I am totally on T-Mobile's side but I recently 'had' to switch to AT&T GoPhone plans just because My Father lives in an area without Coverage. The older he gets the more I am in that area - and I need service.
  • Completely agree. I don't need faster speeds where I already have coverage. I need coverage where I don't have it. I'll be visiting my parents soon for christmas and I am dreading the two weeks with barely any cell-phone signal unless I am standing near a window while at their house. Still love T-mobile though and 99% of the time I have no issues.
  • ...they don't have WiFi? WiFi calling solves most of my issues Posted via Android Central App
  • Sounds good to me.
  • My Nexus 5 doesn't support the 700Mhz GSM spectrum...only the 1900Mhz that T-Mobile offers. Posted via Motorola Xoom tablet
  • They're not going to run "GSM" on it. They're going to use it for LTE which your Nexus 5 does support.
  • The nexus 5 doesn't support A band though. Posted via Android Central App
  • True this will require new phones, one of the reasons Verizon is probably willing to let it go, especially of they don't have the A band frequences everywhere Posted via Android Central App
  • actually while that is assumed by many I wonder if it might be smarter for T-Mobile to run hspa+ on it. I don't know if their would be any technical hurdles but that would solve voice and data penetration issues. Of course of they plan on rolling out volte which I haven't heard , the point would be moot. Posted via Android Central App
  • I think the new company name should be Sprint Mobile. Makes the most sense.
  • SprinT-Mobile
  • Like that Posted via Android Central App
  • S-Mobile maybe? Posted via Android Central App
  • Plain and simple nothing beats Tmobile period. Posted from my Galaxy Note 3 on Tmobile via Android Central App
  • This guy again? Does he ever learn..... Posted via Android Central App
  • Nope I never learn. The best is the best who cares about the Haters I sure don't. You better recognize that then you will be okay. Posted from my Galaxy Note 3 on Tmobile via Android Central App
  • "Nothing beats T-Mobile period" except the company that's about to buy them. Posted via Android Central App
  • Sprint? They've been bleeding customers for the past 5-7yrs! Posted via Android Central App Using my Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile
  • Yes...Sprint. Posted via Android Central App
  • They have more money thanks to someone who recently bought the majority stake in them, their network sucks and they are bleeding customers because of it. T-Mobile is growing, despite money issues and offers great network performance in many markets. Don't confuse money from a foreign investor with quality of a carrier.
    In fact that fact that its a investor shows the short term thinking of this plan, if they were smart they'd not buy another carrier but throw that money into completing their anemic network vision rollout which is actually an excellent plan but as usual not executed well by Sprint. Buying t-mobile is short sighted investor thinking that will just complicate things. Posted via Android Central App
  • So according to you, bleeding customers for 5-7yrs makes a company better than T-Mobile? Posted via Android Central App Using my Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile
  • You're a moron. When you recognize that, then you will be okay. For god sakes you take your opinion and claim it as if it were an empirical, absolute fact. It's not. It's just your opinion. For every one of your opinions, I can find a hundred people who would gladly disagree with everything you say. The best *to you* is not the best to *everyone else*. When you recognize that, then you will be okay. Aren't you like 55 years old? Your profile picture makes it sure seem like you are. Grow the fuck up. You're acting like you're a bratty 7 year old. Sad that a 22 year old feels the need to tell this to a guy at least double his age...
  • "Who is your Daddy and what does he do?" - Arnie is asking again Posted via Android Central App
  • depends. are we talking Foosball ? periodically perhaps?! Posted via Android Central App
  • That which you did there, I saw it
  • what ??
    if you don't like lighthouses, you suck!
    :) Posted via Android Central App
  • +1
    The only way to ruin T-Mobile is to involve Sprint...
  • talking out of your a hole again Posted via Android Central App
  • Just to be clear, another source I read stated Verizon is not currently using the spectrum in question. So those of us with devices only supporting LTE in the 700 band already should still be fine. Posted via Android Central App
  • Yes, presumably Verizon isn't going to sell all of its 700MHz.
  • Correct. Verizon currently uses the C block spectrum in its national LTE coverage. What is up for sale is unused block A and B spectrum. Verizon will keep its C block spectrum. Posted via Android Central App
  • Once bought (if bought) how long before T-Mobile lights up this spectrum for its customers (days; weeks; months), and would T-Mobile legacy devices have the radio bands to tap into it?
  • months to a year + More than likely not
  • Several months or more, I'd guess. They're talking about spectrum in many markets that's completely separate from all spectrum they own now. As for devices, many already support 700mhz LTE. But surely T-Mobile at some point would start making sure all devices going forward it sells would support it. Posted via Android Central App
  • But I don't think there's a single T-Mobile handset that does A band. It will take a long time to work out the interference issues and get new handsets. Posted via Android Central App
  • A long time? Probably no more than 12-18mo's. Not a long time. Posted via Android Central App Using my Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile
  • If you look at the problems with the A band 700 Mhz (band 12) you'll see why AT&T and Verizon haven't deployed it anywhere. Only the small carriers have used it so far. There will be issues in the markets where TV is broadcasting on the same frequencies. Right now, T-Mobile handsets support band 17 (so they can potentially roam on AT&T). If I understand correctly, band 12 is inclusive of band 17. This will not be as easy as folding MetroPCS spectrum into their network.
  • Why would the FCC auction off spectrum that is still being used by tv stations? Posted via Android Central App Using my Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile
  • Read Neal Gompa's article on the 700 Mhz spectrum for more information. It's quite the mess with interference and AT&T trying to kill it.
  • There are no A, B or C bands.
    Those are blocks.
  • Thank you. I knew something didn't sound right. Posted via Android Central App
  • Yes, 700mhz is band 17 which the Nexus 5 and others Tmobile's handsets already support.
  • But doesn't band 17 exclude the A block? They'll have to add band 12 to handsets, right? Posted via Android Central App
  • Very exciting news!!! Anything that keeps the mbps up, I'm happy! Posted via Android Central App Using my Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile
  • Relax, your Nexus 5 will be an old brick by the time its deployed
  • You're right, but the next Nexus device may support it. Posted from my "Gift from God" Nexus 5
  • You're right. That really is the way to look at it. I'm going to guess two years before we really see this spectrum shine. By that point most T-Mobile customers will be on new handsets.
  • PLEASE Posted via Android Central App
  • Yes! Posted via Android Central App
  • I saw this and immediately thought Verizon will do anything to not support the Nexus 7. It just seems like something they would do. Keep pushing their own 7 incher Posted via Android Central App
  • Verizon is likely keeping all of their band 13 spectrum. This is for lower 700 Mhz spectrum, band 12 (and some 17?).
  • Get it so Sprint and get it!
  • I'm a new tmobile customer coming over from VZW. So far I'm 80% satisfied with the service. -10% for rural data coverage (but in reality VZW sucked in most of these places too except on major highways), -20% for their crappy tech support in their call centers (I can read scripts, I need someone who knows what they are saying), +10 % for insanely good call quality with other TMobile phones (I couldn't stand the distortion on VZW anymore).
  • So a phone purchased now (cough* G2 *cough) through T-Mobile won't support this spectrum but could it be updated through firmware to support it later on when they acquire the spectrum?
  • Not necessarily. The phones radio chip needs to actually support the band or a subset of the band thats close enough, if the phones radio doesn't support the band no amount of firmware will update it. I've been reading about Band 12 and AT&T is looking to make Band 12 able to simultaneously broadcast a Band 17 compatible signal so Band 17 devices are compatible with areas that might only have Band 12 cell sites for LTE. I think it would be in T-Mobiles best interest to do this or even just broadcasting only in the Band 17 region of the Band 12 stuff they have. Either way theres hope. This stuff can get really complex and there is a ton of misinformation on the internet about it.