Verizon and T-Mobile close to spectrum deal according to Bloomberg

verizon-wireless-office

Today was supposed to be another quiet Friday for me, but I guess the powers that control leaks decided to spoil those plans. We’ve already seen reports claiming that Sprint is looking to buy T-Mobile, and now it’s rumored that Verizon and T-Mobile are close to a deal.

Over the past few weeks, rumors of a VZW/Tmo deal have been gathering pace. We’ve known Verizon is keen on selling its unwanted A-block spectrum from a while back, and it’s clear that T-Mobile needs to boost its lower frequency airwaves (since almost all of its spectrum is in the higher frequencies). Just earlier in the week, Verizon said it would be open to swapping spectrum as part of a deal, and according to Bloomberg‘s sources, that’s exactly what’s happening.

Verizon Wireless is nearing an agreement to sell unused airwaves to T-Mobile US Inc. (TMUS) in exchange for cash and spectrum in cities where it needs more capacity, according to a person with knowledge of the process.

If it goes through, it’s a win-win situation for both parties. Verizon gets cash and some spectrum for the areas it needs to bolster. T-Mobile gets much needed airwaves for expanding its coverage, and providing signal that can get through walls and in to buildings more effectively, as well as boosting rural reception.

It’s rumored that the deal will be announced as soon as next week, after all the formalities have been finalized. And once it is announced, it could see T-Mobile offer coverage to an extra 150 million people.

There isn’t much to stand in the way of this deal going through. AT&T was said to be interested in acquiring the spectrum, but it’s very unlikely that VZW would be willing to sell spectrum to improve the service of its biggest rival. There is also the problem of the TV channel 51 interference, where frequencies of both the 700Mhz band and channel 51′s waves clash in places. Lastly, the FCC will need to approve and spectrum buying or swapping.

As is expected, both the carriers’ spokespeople declined to comment.

Via: Bloomberg

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  • steve

    First

  • UMA_Fan

    The biggest problem will be devices that support this band. As well as voice traveling through LTE as well.

    • besweeet

      Device compatibility is what concerns me the most. AFAIK, new devices are needed to support this frequency.

      • Trevnerdio

        Not for this frequency, but combining 700MHz with 1700/2100 & 1900MHz LTE might be the problem. However, doesn’t the Verizon iPhone support all of these frequencies?

        • Zombiexm

          We also have to note tmobile will need to update firmware on the towers that support that, and replace the others that don’t (the old edge towers) along with even building new ones in areas they don’t have any.
          the fastest I see it happening is six months after the buy out is approved that they add it to current markets, and at least a year to the super urban areas of these markets.

          I would say all future tmobile phones will support it. Might be what I need to buy the note 4 :] or a new Nexus to go along with my note 2 :] (still hope it will get 4.4 so I can use google wallet)

          Also a while ago I read up that the radios them self can beupdated threw update on some phones couldn’t tmobile do this?

    • ghulamsameer

      I don’t think it should be a problem. Implementation of the new spectrum wouldn’t be instant and I’m sure T-Mobile will begin selling phones that are compatible with 700 MHz by the time the spectrum is usable.

  • j

    This sounds great. Hope they implement soon

  • LE

    Awesome. Love big red helping magenta get an edge closer to ATTs footsteps.

    • vrm

      more like verizon getting the much sought after AWS spectrum (higher bandwidth) for practically free, while wasting tmobile’s scarce resources (cash).

  • Roger Sales

    I could easily see them starting to roll out voLTE nationwide beginning with the 700 A block. Makes the most sense to me.

    • Zombiexm

      Wont be nation wide until they make deals with other smaller cell providers in the hicks. Example US Cellular, Long Lines, Union telephone.

      Alot of these companys are very small anyway that becoming a MNVO wouldn’t effect them that much.

      Anyway these markets that verizon owns (they own the cox wireless ones as well)
      are in good markets and go out a few hundred miles into the boonies.

      This will bring new customers in, and more money down the line to buy from the other company’s the other A block’s, or just use 600 mhz in the other areas.

      Anyway I read up that in order to get cricket the fcc might mandate they sell the market cricket owns in the 700 A Block and this might in turn make att sell there one single a block market in the south. Who will buy it ? most likely tmobile

      • princedannyb

        That would be awsome. Verizon has 700 mhz a block in my county and the county north of me has 700 mhz a block owned by att. And I’m in Florida! Could you tweet me a link. My twitter is @danielplumley

      • princedannyb

        Nevermind it is continuum 700 (whoever that is) who has the a block north of me.

      • princedannyb

        Just looked up continuum and they are not doing anything with their spectrum. T-mo should buy it.

        • Zombiexm

          Also the FCC Mandated the A block be able to work with any other carrier to the device level. Even if some of these mini wireless carriers wont “sell” now tmobile could easily get a roaming deal.

        • princedannyb

          But only with gsm. Right?

  • vrm

    150 million MORE ? It seems that the spectrum is mostly in urban areas so probably the same 150 million already covered ?! IMO, it is a waste of money and the extra AWS will benefit verizon more.

    • Eric

      “And once it is announced, it could see T-Mobile offer coverage to an extra 150 million people.”

      Keyword: Extra.

      That’s almost half of T-Mobile’s HSPA+/LTE network ON TOP OF their existing network!

      • Trevnerdio

        I don’t think that’s possible…I don’t even think there are that many people in the U.S.

      • scuttlefield

        Yeah. There’s only 314 million people in the US. So, something’s up.

        I just learned something, the measure of coverage used by carries (POPS) does not actually stand for populations, as I thought. It means “Points Of Presence”, so that could conceivably be number of connectable devices, meaning that total POPs could be higher than the population of an area.

        Maybe this is the reason for the confusion?

        • vrm

          why ? why did you post this ? what urged you ?

        • slazenger

          POPs is a census data

        • philyew

          The nation is divided up into coverage areas, Cellular Market Areas, by the FCC for license management purposes. These are comprised of MSAs and Rural Coverage Areas. The MSAs, as pointed out by someone else, are metropolitan statistical areas defined for census purposes. As a result, the POPs referred to are indeed units of population.

          If you Google “FCC cellular market areas”, you can find an FCC map and elsewhere you can find details of corresponding populations.

      • Zombiexm

        Also it is not like tmobile cant go to the other companys and buy there A Block spectrum in return for money, and a muilti-year roaming agreement for the band.
        I honestly see USC doing this down the line. I think they are moving to becoming a mnvo really :/

  • Andrew Dos Santos

    I’m about 90% sure this is the VZW callcenter in Elgin, SC. Random choice for a picture…

  • nebraska

    No towers in nebraska

    • Herb

      So… don’t use T-Mobile in Nebraska.

    • http://twitter.com/SParKlngCyaNide SparklingCyanide

      well…. at least you have cows and goats. *blinks**

      • nebraska

        And skycrapers and and houses?? Your ignorant

        • Trevnerdio

          Would it be mean of me to say “you’re*” ? ;)
          just playin, man

        • http://twitter.com/SParKlngCyaNide SparklingCyanide

          what, are you saying there are no cows and goats in Nebraska? I find that hard to believe…

        • nebraska

          No there are but there r cities like omaha that have around 1 millions poeple metro areas so its not goats and cows where I live but there is exellent att service

        • Eric

          T-Mobile has LTE in Omaha, Nebraska.

    • Alex Zapata

      Well of course there aren’t any towers in you, that would be a logistical nightmare putting a tower inside someone!

  • tmo_user

    This is great overall. Only hurdle is resolving the Channel 51 conflict on the 700Mhz band and the green light from the FCC among other regulators, hopefully they are able to hash all these issues out soon.

    • Adrayven

      Channel 51 is going away; this much we know. Eventually, it will be usable period.. The real question is, how long will it take to get broadcasters off 51. They are not known for being fast at implementation.

      • Zombiexm

        Tmobile only has to submit a complaint to the FCC that these stations are not doing nothing or doing it to slowly.

        • SouthernBlackNerd

          That will not do anything. Channel 51 Broadcasters have the rights in this situation. They were there first, and the FCC has expressly forbidden any 700Mhz A owner from broadcasting their spectrum in the interference zone.

          They will be moved off once we have the 600Mhz auction, which has been pushed back.

        • http://pharaohtechblog.blogspot.com/ Conan Kudo (ニール・ゴンパ)

          Ultimately, the FCC can force them to shift to another channel. The only issue is, is there another 6MHz channel for them to move to?

  • Aurizen

    as long as this creates a more better in building penetration thats fine.

    • Alex Zapata

      Not just better building penetration, but hopefully more consistent coverage. Fill in the gaps.

  • Dats

    This is what T-Mobile needs.. gaining spectrum.. don’t even waste time dealing with Sprint

  • NYCTheBronx

    Not going to lie to you guys but just left San Jose and heading back to Los Angeles. I took look at my phone inside my apartment in San Jose and I saw the LTE sign. And it stayed there for a very long time and it rarely switched to 3G. Before I didn’t have building penetration and would only get 3G all the time in my apartment where speeds were less than 1mbps. Now I have LTE flowing through my apartment walls getting speeds around 2mbps+. Still not fast but I’m happy to see T-Mobile actually is making an effort. Now I have LTE in my apartment and I don’t have to use my WiFi anymore. 20+20 coverage can’t wait. And I’m happy to hear this post. I sure hope T-Mobile does get to purchase Verizon’s unwanted A block.

    • superg05

      they must be installing mimo lte antennas around now

  • Guest

    Honestly do people really still think DT wants to sell?
    Tmobile USA and Tmobile Germany are DTS only ones that are doing well now, and show “potential” of getting even better down the line. Its not likey going to happen (a total merger) with any company.
    What I see
    1)Some type of agreement between sprint/Tmobile to share spectrum/Build out.
    2) Dish buys some % into Tmobile, and uses it 700A Block in return for mobile video and in tmobile store sales of dish.
    3) Vondaphone teams up with tmobile. Who can provide the needed capital.

    Or tmobile might sell another few % for another billion and say bleep you and keep building out.

    I honestly think DT has seen what this new CEO can do, and is finally seeing in order to make money in the US market they need to invest.

    If it does happen, we always can start a crapstorm and send millions complaints into the FCC, even email Vondaphone Corp and push them to buy tmobile.
    I’d rather have them then Dish leading the hole thing

    I dont see a total merger happening with any company now.

    • KlausWillSeeYouNow

      Are you serious?! Sprint over Dish? That’s like betting on a horse with a broken leg over Secretariat.

      Dish is FAR more competent than Sprint. Case closed. Sprint has been a disaster since the Nextel-integration days, and cross-branding… er, sorry, “agreement” between carriers is not likely.

      Voda also wants out, and Vodafone was no real sensation in Verizon either. I’d be surprised if they expressed interest in T-Mobile. And trust me, Voda’s executives will not be swayed by the impassioned cries of help from T-Mobile customers. :-)

      • macman37

        Funny thing is that Phil Humm, T-Mobile USA’s prior CEO, is now one of the heads of Vodafone.

        • KlausWillSeeYouNow

          :-O And he was terrible at T-Mobile. He was the deadbeat whom Legere replaced. No thanks.

  • KB

    “as well as boosting rural reception.”
    I looked up the A block spectrum of Verizon last week, I wouldn’t call any of those regions “rural” (if I recall correctly) .
    This would be nice for the several buildings and city streets in my area that are in need of a more reliable signal.

    • macman37

      When Verizon bought their 25 licenses of 700 MHz Block A, they aimed mostly at urban areas.

    • vrm

      the sheeple here are so dumb that they fail to see tmobile throwing away hard to obtain money, not to mention spectrum.

      It is no coincidence that at&t and verizon are buying up more AWS spectrum in urban markets and tmobile is sitting with it, not knowing what to do and is now foolishly parting with it.

      • philyew

        Please explain the superior value of AWS spectrum over 700MHz A Block.

        Please explain in what way TM, which has just spent the last 18 months carrying out a huge network modernization exercise, meticulously splitting its AWS holdings between HSPA+ and LTE by shifting some HSPA+ services onto its PCS holdings, doesn’t know what to do.

        Please explain how TM, which has historically been the most efficient and innovative carrier in managing with a very limited spectrum holding, is now foolishly parting with valuable resources.

  • macman37

    Please let T-Mobile get this spectrum from Verizon! It would help tremendously and reduce one of the major complaints that people make about T-Mobile – obstacle/in-building penetration. Verizon, thank you for being a great Big Brother to T-Mobile! This is the 2nd time that Verizon has helped T-Mobile that I can recall.

    • ShermCraig

      I think you are overestimating the altruism here. The old saying is the enemy of my enemy is my friend. The real loser here in my opinion is AT&T. They want this spectrum to close the gap between #1 and #2. Instead, #1 extends its lead, while T-Mo is also strengthened, Thinking that Verizon is trying to help out their “little brother” is simply not true.

    • philyew

      Verizon just spent a ton of money buying out Vodafone and can no longer afford to sit around on stockpiles of spectrum that it has no use for.

      Also Verizon will be more than aware that TM’s assault on AT&T, in however small a way, helps to cement Verizon at the top of the mobile market.

      Anything that Verizon is doing in this respect is therefore done in order to help itself.

  • KingCobra

    This particular block of 700mhz spectrum is primarily in urban areas. So what it would do is help T-Mobile with building penetration in those markets. Won’t do anything for my area though but good for T-Mobile overall.

    • vrm

      it will do nothing for them save throwing away money. Unless they improve cell density, the urban coverage will not improve and if they do, they do not need this additional spectrum.

      They could have spent this money on something better but they have consistently shown that their only strategy w.r.t. the network is promise cheap, unlimited data to lure subscribers, at the cost of all else such as actually improving coverage even in urban areas ( even outdoors in an urban area, they have many, many dead spots).

      Sprint has been trying that strategy for a while now and now it appears that fate is in their future.

      I am waiting to see official announcements about network next couple of months then move to at&t postpaid. With the new lower postpaid rates (BYOD), they are competitive with what I pay tmobile. I will not need to change phones. I am not a huge user of data but the better coverage, even in my metro area is worth paying a little extra.

      • KingCobra

        One of T-Mobile’s largest issues right now in urban areas is building penetration. Capacity isn’t as big an issue for them as it is for Verizon and Sprint. Sprint has major issues with capacity which is why their 3G is so slow almost everywhere. Verizon has congestion issues with their LTE network which is why speeds have dropped like a rock in many markets and they are starting to rollout LTE over AWS to address those issues. Speed wise T-Mobile competes with Verizon/AT&T in urban markets (check out Rootmetrics), they just come up short in building penetration and rural coverage. 700mhz will address the building penetration issues in those markets so it’s a good strategy in fixing one of their biggest problems.

  • Angry

    Yesss! TMO doesn’t work in my building since they change out the glass.

    • $15454173

      You can thank those who installed the NSA blocking glass ;)

      • Angry

        Lol, it is a bank, so I’m sure it is purely personal-communications-blocking glass.

  • ShermCraig

    Curious. If and when the deal closes, how long does it take for the coverage to actually improve for T-Mo customers? Is it a matter of flipping switches (so to speak), or do engineers need to go out and physically do work on towers, etc? I ask because obviously there would be a period of time (months?) after the deal where the roll-out might occur? Thanks.

    • http://pharaohtechblog.blogspot.com/ Conan Kudo (ニール・ゴンパ)

      Engineers will have to go out and replace the radio gear to add support for 698-716 / 728-746 MHz (Lower 700MHz A+B+C). It may even require replacing the whole system in the case of Ericsson markets where Ericsson AIR systems were deployed.

      • ShermCraig

        Thank you@

      • philyew

        Do you happen to know if TM have been putting up twin beam antenna when they have been doing their tower upgrades?

        • http://pharaohtechblog.blogspot.com/ Conan Kudo (ニール・ゴンパ)

          I believe NSN markets have them, but Ericsson AIR markets do not.

        • philyew

          Thanks.

  • 0neTw0

    How nice it would be to get service in my house for a change.

    • Penebig

      Free wifi calling

      • 0neTw0

        I have a Nexus. No T-mobile Wifi calling.

      • Alex Zapata

        That’s a great idea unless you BYOD or have an iPhone.

  • Not a Customer Much Longer

    Wow am I disappointed in T-Mobile. After 15 years they have nothing to offer me. They have made their plans so generic, that you can now get a better deal almost ANYWHERE else! No more deals for long term customers. I will continue to post to as many web pages as possible to make sure people know that Sprint offers an iphone 5 at no charge with unlimited everything for $150/mo (for 2 Phones!). Good job Sprint!

    • guest

      LOL. Do you need a hug? TMO don’t need customers like you anyways. Go get Spring Iphone 5(cause you cant afford 5S and need an old phone) and then bitch about their slow data on here and how much you miss TMO. :)

    • Nick

      Except that you forgot that sprints network sucks. Don’t worry, you’ll be back

    • Steve

      whos sprint?

    • JointhePredacons

      If you think T-Mo doesnt have great deals on phones and plans right now then i cant take anything you say seriously. Then you throw the iPhone on top of it as if thats a good phone to begin with.

      • blokeinusa

        Go ahead and leave Tmo. What your forgetting is the total cost of ownership. You may pay nothing upfront for Sprint, but you’ll pay more in the long run.

        • JointhePredacons

          I think you were trying to write to the dude above me. lol

    • ChristianMcC

      That $150 you’re talking about is with a discount I imagine, because the normal price for unlimited everything is $80 per line. I have 5 lines on Tmo and am paying no more than $42 per line unlimited everything unthrottled 4g, before discounts, and that comes with 2.5GB tethering, unlike Sprint where you’re paying a pretty penny extra.

    • Penebig

      Wrong clown. 2 lines with unlimited everything is $160 on Sprint plus a contract. Tmo $120 with unlimited everything plus 2.5gb of hotspot. Check mate.

  • sahib102 .

    YEAH im glad this is happening :) but I hope they finally upgrade my city from 2g :P if not ….oh well I can wait

  • Alex Zapata

    I wonder how much spectrum we’re looking at here.

    • princedannyb

      I think 22mhz, but I could be wrong.

      • Alex Zapata

        I actually just checked and it’s mostly 6+6MHz chunks in metro areas. I think I can live with that, and if there’s more then that’s even better!

        • princedannyb

          Ok, maybe 22 is the license not actual spectrum.

        • princedannyb

          Thanks, can you post a link. I know it won’t appear until cam aproves it. I will check back later.

        • Alex Zapata

          I can and I will! This is actually a pending link for my original comment.

          http://specmapdotsequence-omegadotnet/

        • Mark

          Awesome maps… and they bear out the point that TMo should buy out the rest of US Cellular if I’m to see much improvement in northern New England!

  • naum

    Could someone tell me whether or not Albany, NY is one of the cities that are covered by this spectrum? I give up searching for an actual list of cities that will benefit from this.

    • kev2684

      Cavalier Wireless owns A block in your area.

  • np6s4x

    hmm…verizon owns that here, wishful thinking?

  • chris

    This site sucks now! ever since they switched persons of dealing with the website it has sucked ever since. Lack of updates for tmobile and lack of knowledge. Old person would constantly be updating the site with any new information! You such!

    • Vince

      Then leave.

    • D Nice

      I disagree, I have been following this site since earlier in the year. At times under David’s leadership of the site it would go day’s before a new a new article would post. I mean it is what it is there will only be so much information that will be new and relevant at times. You are entitled to your opinion and I respect that, however I think we should give this man some time and a fair shake.

    • donnybee

      I completely disagree. I’ve seen this site light up with posts and also be dead for a while. Sometimes there just isn’t news but I do want to hear about anything dealing with T-Mobile. This is a valid article and I hope I see more about this possible agreement as it progresses.