T-Mobile announces $2.37 billion purchase of Verizon’s A-block spectrum

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We’ve been reading reports for a while that T-Mobile could be weighing up a move for Verizon’s unused lower-frequency airwaves. Initially, VZW had officially stated that it was willing to sell, but only for the right price (thought to be between $2B-$3B). Last month, the two companies had also applied for permission from the governing bodies to swap spectrum. Today, the magenta-flavored carrier has announced that the purchase is going through.

In a press release this morning, T-Mobile announced that it is to acquire 700MHz A-Block spectrum from Verizon. Its purpose is to help Tmo “rapidly expand” its network. This low-band spectrum covers roughly 150 million people and will “improve the customer experience in major metro areas.” With it being low-band, it is much better at getting indoors and should help Tmo provide fantastic, fast LTE coverage that works just as well indoors as it does outside. This deal cost T-Mobile $2.37 billion (in cash and transfer of AWS and PCS spectrum licenses).

It’s great to see T-Mobile making good on its promise to invest in acquiring more spectrum in an effort to provide a fast and widely available LTE network, and that network will soon be one of the best quality networks around.

Of course, this announcement only precedes  another major event at CES in two days time. We’re expecting John Legere to get up on stage and “transform” the industry yet again. Our sources suggest it’s going to offer families a way out of contracts with other carriers before they’re due to end. AT&T already responded to those rumors by offering up to $450 to T-Mobile customers looking to change carrier.

Something tells me Wednesday is going to be very interesting indeed. We’ll have full coverage for you.

UPDATE: A quick look at the new 700MHz spectrum map: 

Screen Shot 2014-01-06 at 15.08.49

Full Press Release:

T-Mobile to Acquire 700 MHz A-Block Spectrum from Verizon Wireless, Significant Step in Rapidly Advancing Un-carrier Network Experience

Low-band spectrum covering approximately 150 million people will further improve customer experience in major metro areas, boosting in-building and breadth of network coverage

BELLEVUE, Wash., Jan 06, 2014 (BUSINESS WIRE) –T-Mobile US, Inc. (NYSE: TMUS) today announced that its wholly-owned subsidiaries T-Mobile USA, Inc. and T-Mobile License, LLC have signed agreements to purchase certain 700 MHz A-Block spectrum licenses from Verizon Wireless for $2.365 billion in cash and the transfer of certain AWS and PCS spectrum licenses, which have an aggregate estimated value of approximately $950 million. The transactions, combined with T-Mobile’s existing A-Block holdings in Boston, will result in T-Mobile having important low-band spectrum in 9 of the top 10 and 21 of the top 30 markets across the United States. “This is a great opportunity to secure low-band spectrum in many of the top markets in America,” said John Legere, President and CEO of T-Mobile. “These transactions represent our biggest move yet in a series of initiatives that are rapidly expanding our already lightning fast network and improving its performance across the country. We will continue to find ways to advance our customers’ network experience just as our bold Un-carrier moves have shaken up the wireless industry to benefit consumers.”

These are significant transactions that will further enhance a rapidly improving network experience that T-Mobile expects will create shareholder value. Low-band spectrum substantially improves in-building coverage as well as coverage in rural areas. It also travels greater distances than high-band spectrum and therefore is a more efficient way to provide coverage at the edge of cities and in less densely populated areas. Combined with its existing Boston A-Block holdings, T-Mobile will have low-band spectrum covering approximately 158 million people — including New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Washington D.C., and Detroit. T-Mobile anticipates rolling out service and compatible handsets on this A-Block spectrum as early as the fourth quarter of 2014.

In 2013, T-Mobile continued its rapid LTE rollout, deploying 10+10 MHz 4G LTE in 43 of the top 50 metro areas and it is commencing substantive deployments of 20+20 MHz 4G LTE in 2014. The company launched its nationwide 4G LTE network in 2013, which currently covers approximately 209 million people in 273 metro areas.

Also, as part of the transaction, the two companies will realign spectrum blocks in certain markets, primarily in northern California and the Atlanta area.

The agreements are subject to approval by the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice, and other customary closing conditions. Following regulatory approval, these transactions are expected to close in mid-2014.

TAP Advisors worked as financial advisors for T-Mobile on this transaction.

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  • PiCASSiMO

    Can someone send me the link to a better (higher resolution) map? We’ve got a cottage near Coloma, MI and I want to make sure that this extra spectrum will cover that area. Currently we have “G” speeds.

    • philyew

      If you can find your way through the advanced search filtering system, you can search for Verizon 700MHz A block licenses here and drill down to a particular geographic area:

      http://reboot.fcc{dot}gov/reform/systems/spectrum-dashboard

    • PiCASSiMO

      Will existing phones like Nexus 4 or Nexus 5 have the necessary bands to receive data on the new 700Mhz spectrum?

      Looking at the Nexus 5 specs, LTE Band 17 fits the bill… but I’m not sure:

      North America:
      GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
      CDMA: Band Class: 0/1/10
      WCDMA: Bands: 1/2/4/5/6/8/19
      LTE: Bands: 1/2/4/5/17/19/25/26/41

      And does the unofficial Nexus 4 LTE bands include 17?

      • philyew

        The 700MHz A block is LTE band 12, so no, none of the current Nexus devices will work.

      • Alex Zapata

        Unfortunately, the lower A block is only part of band 12 so none of the nexus devices will support it. You can blame the horrible management of the 700MHz auctions for creating band 12,13,14 and 17 out of what really should have been more like 1 or 2 band classes.

        • maximus1901

          They should’ve used the APT 700 MHz band plan; only band class is Band 28.

        • Alex Zapata

          Exactly! I’ve been saying this since day 1, but this is America where lobbyists rule.

    • Simply The Doctor

      I looked it up, and it doesn’t look like Verizon has any block A spectrum near there. The only one who does is US Cellular.

  • Chris

    So, dont buy a new phone til December since I live in minneapolis. Exciting times.

  • Danny Lewis

    It looks like Cincinatti is finally going to get LTE!

  • Bori

    “T-Mobile anticipates rolling out service and compatible handsets on this A-Block spectrum as early as the fourth quarter of 2014″

    In other words, by the beginning of what, October? I’ll save the excitement for then. For now I am hoping for some real excitement Wednesday.

    • xmiro

      some devices already support the A-block already I think. Just have to push an update to them

      • maximus1901

        no they don’t. Do they support Band 12?
        Band 17 is B+C, Band 12 is A+B+C.

      • Bori

        I have been looking through the specs on my LG G2, but have not been able to find anything in reference to that. But it would be nice if it did, not that I plan to keep it till then, I am sure there will be more appealing devices by the end of the year.

  • Jack Paschke

    I almost squealed when i saw that blob of magenta over northern Colorado! I think Tmo’s biggest problem has been indoor coverage and building penetration, as well as wild signal fluctuations when driving through a metro area. 700mhz is great for this as well as for making it easier to cover places like NoCo, where everyone is very spread out. hope to see this come to fruition in 2014!

    • maximus1901

      Take a look at the ch51 exclusion zones

      http://www{DOT}attpublicpolicy{DOT}com/wireless/no-mhz-left-behind/

      your squeal’s tone may change.

      • http://twitter.com/SParKlngCyaNide SparklingCyanide

        Wow, at it again? don’t you have anything better to do than spread misinformation?

        • maximus1901

          Don’t you have anything better to do than NOT bring any new information to this discussion?
          How is this misinformation?

      • Jack Paschke

        Not saying you don’t have a point, but this article is 2 years old and I can’t find anything else about it.

  • guest

    Unfortunately, the map suggests northern virginia is not covered :(

    • guest

      Oops I may be wrong, went to Verizon map and looks like parts of NOVA is there!

  • maximus1901

    Let’s not get TOO excited because in areas where channel 51 is located, TMO cannot turn on its A-block until AFTER ch51 is moved. Since 600 MHz auction is occurring mid-2015, that means .. . . sometime in 2016.

    Here’s the map with the ch51 exclusion zones.

    http://www{DOT}attpublicpolicy{DOT}com/wireless/no-mhz-left-behind/

    As the saying goes, read it and weep. Your new phone in 2014 MAY have Band 12 but if you’re in one of the big, red circles, it’s 2016 until your phone can take advantage of it.

    • Marcoshay

      And what does yellow county mean? South western AZ is where I live and currently are on Edge. I’m not looking to wait until 4th quarter to see lte turn on here in a different frequency none the less. :/

      • xmiro

        the yellow is EA – economic area – it’s what the FCC uses to sell blocks of spectrum licensed to certain geographic areas

      • maximus1901

        TMO’s current immediate plan is to turn on LTE where they already have HSPA+ on AWS.
        They haven’t announced anything beyond that (except for this news).

  • Marcoshay

    Yuma is on this map for this new spectrum just bought. But I have to buy a new phone for it? I really hope they deploy LTE that is compatible with my phone and put this 700 MHz band on top of it.

    • maximus1901

      Band 12 is not supported by any ATT, TMO, VZW, Sprint phone.

  • steveb944

    Woo hoo FLORIDA!!!! Awesome!

    • maximus1901

      Check the red blobs

      http://www{DOT}attpublicpolicy{DOT}com/wireless/no-mhz-left-behind/

      • http://twitter.com/SParKlngCyaNide SparklingCyanide

        don’t listen to him @steveb944:disqus he knows not what he speaks about.

        • maximus1901

          Well ATT does and their article says no Band 12 in red blobs until Ch51 is cleared.

      • dpro

        Ah you are citing a report from 2012. Which is pretty much old news. By the time this deal is wrapped up and equipment deployed for700mhz band 12 the ch51 issue will be cleared. Fact is the FCC has been pushing TV broadcasters off ch51 like its going out of style.That was one of the big reasons for them pushing Digital broadcast to get them off the spectrum with their older analog equipment.That way the FCC could move forward with the sale of all lower band spectrum.

        • maximus1901

          Completely wrong. Check out slide 18/25

          at

          http://assets{DOT}fiercemarkets{DOT}net/public/mdano/amis/700-tmobile-verizon{DOT}pdf

          “A-Block build-out can start in 2014 outside the Ch.51 Service contours with more than 50% of covered population in such areas”

          Hmmmm . . . . OUTSIDE of ch51 service contours.

          Dude seriously. I pasted this PDF for a reason. Don’t be drop-dead lazy. Copy-paste the link and READ.

        • philyew

          Unfortunately, the incentive auction which is part of the FCC plan is now delayed until 2015.

      • steveb944

        I had read up on this previously. I live in South Florida so I have no issues. Plus, our phones aren’t even compatible yet with band 12 so by the time we have compatible devices I’m sure we’ll be fine

  • emcdonald75

    So hopefully T-mobile will start aggressively buying the other A-Block spectrum licenses to try and make this 700 MHz Spectrum as nationwide as possible. Go after C-Spire, US Cellular and other regional operators or owners of the A-Block Spectrum. It should only cost 1-1.5 billion dollars more for the other licenses. I hope anyway.

    • KP

      Look for M&A with midwest carrier..

      • randian

        US Cellular? They have spectrum, but their network and customers are worthless to T-Mobile because it’s CDMA.

        • maximus1901

          You mean like MetroPCS? lol

        • maximus1901

          But seriously, you’re right they’re not gonna buy USC because:
          1) if they were serious about buying someone else, they would’ve gone for Leap wireless
          2) The NUMBER ONE reason why they bought Metro is so they could go public without having an IPO; it’s at least tied with getting additional 9mil customers
          3) Profile of USC’s customers is completely different from Metro’s: contract, no quick phone turnover, would’ve had to run the CDMA network in parallel for MANY years
          4) Carlson family doesn’t want to sell USC.

        • philyew

          Don’t underestimate the spectrum position. The deal also got them over the hump in the New York and Philadelphia MSAs so they could deploy 20+20 LTE. That represents over 10% of their 4G footprint.

        • Alex Zapata

          That doesn’t make them worthless. Look at MetroPCS.

        • fentonr

          metropcs was CDMA too, they have done a pretty bang up job converting those customers so far.

    • Chris

      I totally agree with you as a METRO PCS customer !!!

    • maximus1901

      Why would it only cost that much? This transaction was for 158mil POPs and cost $2.4bil in cash and $900mil in spectrum.

      • emcdonald75

        Because they are buying smaller licenses from a multitude of smaller regional operators. They probably will not charge as much for the licenses than a larger cellular operator, but I’m just guessing.

        • maximus1901

          Or, they know TMO is desperate for the A block so they will charge much more.

          TMO could just partner with them and offer Band 12 roaming access. That would solve the Mexican standoff.

        • emcdonald75

          That’s true. But many of these operators may not be planning to build out the spectrum to provide roaming support. Let’s hope they will build out the spectrum and do something similar to Verizon’s Rural Alliance. That worked great. Plus, some of these areas have no voice coverage by T-Mobile, so I thought maybe T-Mobile might just buy the spectrum and build out for more nationwide voice and data coverage.

    • kev2684

      who is continuum 700? they need to be bought. they own the license for northeast fl, south east ga. lol

  • maximus1901

    Here are the TMO investor slides on this transaction

    http://assets{DOT}fiercemarkets{DOT}net/public/mdano/amis/700-tmobile-verizon{DOT}pdf

    • maximus1901

      Looks like it’s not just cash: TMO also gives up

      AWS, 34mil POPs

      PCS, 21mil POPs

      I wonder how much spectrum TMO will have left in those areas.

      • philyew

        After the MetroPCS deal, they had at least 50MHz of LTE spectrum in the following markets: NY, LA, Dallas, Detroit, Boston, San Francisco, Tampa, Sacramento, Las Vegas, Orlando. (Source: Capital Markets Day slide deck December 2012).

        They said in today’s deck “Spectrum dispositions will not impair our ability to reach 20+20 MHz 4G LTE in 90% of Top 25 metro areas in 2014 and beyond.”

        • maximus1901

          LOL (at me not you).

          http://assets{DOT}fiercemarkets{DOT}net/public/mdano/amis/700-tmobile-verizon{DOT}pdf

          Look at slides 24-25: specifies the markets where they’re giving up AWS, PCS and where exactly they’ll have the Band 12.

        • maximus1901

          From slides 24-25, likes like TMO was willing to trade away spectrum as long it they kept at least 40MHz in the given band.

    • maximus1901

      Also, on slide 17/25, TMO says

      “Mitigation techniques exists to shrink these zones today”

      regardint the ch51 zones.

    • donnybee

      The slide 6/25 says buildout can begin immediately after closing on the licenses. Do you think that excludes the key cities that still have Channel 51? Or do they mean they can start everywhere?

      • maximus1901

        Slide 18/25 answers your question; the title is “Early Deployment Opportunity”

        “A-Block build-out can start in 2014 outside the Ch.51 Service contours with more than 50% of covered population in such areas”

        So even though their purchase covers 158mil, they can only cover roughly half that until ch51 is fixed.

        “Initial markets where Ch.51 is not present include Washington DC, Dallas, Philadelphia, Houston, Miami and Minneapolis”

        They’re going to start deploying right after they close the deal.

        So yes, that excludes the cities with ch51 issues.

        • donnybee

          That’s interesting. Thanks for the info! Now we all know what to be prepared for. I think what intrigues me most out of these slides is that they make mention of their intentions to participate in the AWS-3 and 600MHz auctions!

          Good things are happening!

      • maximus1901

        But all is not lost.

        Slide 17/25

        “Mitigation techniques exists to shrink these zones today”

        So if you’re on the edge of the red circles, you’ll be able to get band 12.

    • PiCASSiMO

      Thank you…

      T-Mobile should by the A-Block from Leap wireless in Chicago and gain another 8.5 POPs.

      • fentonr

        Chicago is pretty well covered although the data speeds are pretty bad. Additional spectrum would certainly help.

  • hotpepper

    Will the unlocked T-Mobile iPhone 5S work with the new band once it’s rolled out?

    • randian

      No current iPhone supports band 12.

      • hotpepper

        Does this mean I have to get a new phone to support this band? or can T-Mobile simple push an update out?

        • dontsh00tmesanta

          new phone

      • dontsh00tmesanta

        Which phone does?

        • randian

          US Cellular Moto X

        • dontsh00tmesanta

          nice

  • Chris

    Great New as a Metro PCS customer here in Michigan they need to expand more in the upper Michigan northern Michigan where there no signal great news looking forward to this !!!

  • Encino Stan

    Verizon lists the following markets covered by the 23 lower 700 MHz A Block
    licenses that Verizon Wireless will transfer to T-Mobile under the two
    agreements: New York NY, Cleveland OH, Houston TX, Philadelphia PA, Detroit MI, San Antonio TX (yeah!), Washington DC –Baltimore MD, Grand Rapids MI, Denver CO, Orlando FL, Indianapolis IN, Los Angeles CA, Miami FL, Kansas City MO, Fresno CA, Tampa FL, Minneapolis MN, San Francisco CA, Atlanta GA, Dallas TX, Sacramento CA, Cincinnati OH, Austin TX

    http://www.verizonwirelessdotcom/news/article/2014/01/spectrum-license-transactions.html

    • maximus1901

      http://assets{DOT}fiercemarkets{DOT}net/public/mdano/amis/700-tmobile-verizon{DOT}pdf

      slides 24-25.

      • Anonymouse

        ^slide 17: Early Deployment Opportunity

        Initial markets where Ch.51 is not present include Washington DC, Dallas, Philadelphia, Houston, Miami and Minneapolis

    • dontsh00tmesanta

      But california is mostly covered in red…..rural areas thoughout the san joaquin valley.

      Not just fresno

  • maximus1901

    Something that did NOT bring a smile to my face:

    “Disciplined in evaluation of future A-Block transactions”, slide 12/25

    http://assets{DOT}fiercemarkets{DOT}net/public/mdano/amis/700-tmobile-verizon{DOT}pdf

    This means they are NOT going to be trigger-happy in buying additional A block from other people.
    :(

    • donnybee

      Maybe that’s because it will be secondary spectrum acquisitions. I wonder if their plan, out west for example – or even mid-west rural areas, is to get 600MHz from the auction. It could possibly be cheaper than secondary market acquisitions and overall have generous benefits as well. The slides make light of the $3.8B cash on hand after this transaction, so maybe A-Block isn’t the answer going forward, but instead was more of a stop-gap at this point.

    • http://twitter.com/SParKlngCyaNide SparklingCyanide

      @maximus1901:disqus I apologize, I shouldn’t have jumped down your throat like I did earlier. I can tell, you are knowledgeable about these things. sorry.

  • http://freedomisthedream.com Wesley

    Dang, none in Washington! They need to make the LTE network much better in Spokane. My Nexus 5 hardly ever gets more than one bar on LTE and very poor speeds that are lower than HSPA+.

  • Rick Rudge

    I’m so happy to see more magenta on the map; especially in California. When I’ve visited my family in the Central Valley, many times I would get no service at all. Now that looks very promising. I don’t understand this whole spectrum buyout. Is this automatic or does T-Mobile still need to do work on these towers to get these signals up and running? Anyway. That’s good news. Thanks for posting, Cam.

    • Moby

      Nothing automatic. They have to do the work to build the network, then everyone in that area has to get a new device that will take be able to use the new band.

      • fentonr

        Agreed, I’m happy to see the coverage in northwest Wisconsin which is pretty awful now, and I’m sure will be some of the last to be built out but at least they can now.

    • kalel33

      In many of those places T-mobile doesn’t even have towers but with the spectrum they should be able to build out towers or lease space on existing towers.

  • GreatNews

    According to the map NY won’t get anything batter?

    • Tom

      What? It shows the whole Hudson valley up to around Kingston as covered. Which is also the most populated section of the state. This would help a lot because currently, it’s mostly edge. The few places where I see HSPA , it’s ridiculously slow, average around 200kbps download and upload which is pitiful. Hope this rollout is just as quick as last year’s LTE was.

  • geo

    Very pleased to see the spectrum in MN. Very frustrating that the I35 corridor is not covered currently. Even tho this looks like is stops just short of Duluth, it will still help quite a lot!

  • dontsh00tmesanta

    My next jump phone will be one with 700mhz yee

  • JBLmobileG1

    Something is up in the Las Vegas and Henderson NV area…. I’ve noticed the network has been slow and using speed tests, either they completely fail, or are really slow. Hopefully it’s some type of update that will launch the new 20×20 LTE otherwise Tmobile is in big trouble. CES is here this week, if this doesn’t get fixed, Tmobile might be the laughing stock of the show.

    • JBLmobileG1

      I can’t even watch a YouTube video without it buffering. It’s sllloooowwwwww.

    • philyew

      It wouldn’t be the first time they have cranked up the local network before CES. They’re probably going through a bunch of tuning to make sure it comes across in top shape. Still, if I was doing it, I’d have tried to get it finished last week…

      • JBLmobileG1

        I agree. The speeds are starting to come back , but they are what I use to get with standard 3G. 6mb down and 2 to 3 up. I am use to pulling in closer to 30 up and about 30 down. Hopefully Tmobile gets the ball rolling soon. It shows I have 4G LTE on my Note 2, but it doesn’t seem like it. My battery also seems like it’s been taking a hit. Really odd.

    • Ellay

      Same here, Troy/Royal oak, MI. I had issues last night, but they resolved today 33Down, 14Up

  • Mystery Man

    Your IM5 crappy ad completley takes over the web page. Please refrain from 1990′s advertising. Thanks

    • philyew

      I guess it depends on the browser you use…it’s pretty well-behaved on the page I’m looking at.

      I take that back…it’s a mess! CAM!!!!!

    • M1A1D

      AdBlock went back on for me because of it.

      • mingkee

        I have done one step further to put ad sites onto blacklist of the network firewall to protect all devices on my house network.
        This is a responsibility of a network admin.

  • Thor

    That IM5 add thing made it impossible to comment on the page or anything. It didnt allow me to click on any article and then it would take me to the im5 main page. I finally managed to block it. But it is preventing people from accessing the site. Thank god phone still works.

  • keasycase

    All new phones coming out for T-Mobile most likely will have band 12… T-Mobile is smart with stuff like that

  • Thor

    Install adblock and then right click on the add and say that you want to block it and it will do it. It is extremely cumbersome to try to click on an article and go to a different page. Cam Please do something about this!!!

    • philyew

      I’ve sent him a couple of emails as well.

      The ad displays some behavior I’ve never seen before. While it was screwing up every browser in sight on the phone, it was behaving as normal on my laptop. After a while though the ad started appearing in both side bars as well as the top of the page. Then it started behaving the same way on the laptop as on the phone. Obviously designed to pass initial testing before it started behaving maliciously.

  • cubanito151

    Man VA never gets the love from T-Mobile. Can’t wait for hspa+, the 3g here sucks. Its like edge; too many people on it.

  • philyew

    Has anyone found a way to fix the IM5 ad issue on the smartphone? I’ve been unable to do it despite flushing cache and installing Adblock.

    What I’ve just discovered is that IM5 is owned by the same guy that owns Phonedog….which is probably why Cam has been unable to do anything to fix it, despite calls for action here and by email.

    http://www.postandcourier{dot}com/article/20130722/PC05/130729968

    Way to go killing your own site.

  • Chris

    According to the map i am from Michigan i am a METRO PCS customer does this include the upper Michigan Northern part of Michigan where there no service at all that would be nice to have !!!

  • donnybee

    This talk of the 700MHz bands is an interesting discussion. It may be due to poor management that we now have 4 different bands on the 700MHz wavelength, but when comparing to other plans that were overruled, such as creating just one band in the 700MHz wavelength – which would be more difficult; to make a phone that would support one large band (had that been the outcome), or one that supports the wide array of bands in the 700MHz wavelength? If they made a device that could transmit on all the 700MHz (minus the Dish interference) wouldn’t that be the same as if they lumped 700MHz into one band? And would it support all the segregated bands of today?

  • Owl_81

    Did “major metro areas” really need more support? How about coverage in areas where it still remains poor. I moved from Philly to Upstate NY. My coverage was great in Philly, an area they continue to improve. But in Upstate NY it is awful! It is to the point where I am considering ATT’s $450 promotion, because at least I would have coverage!

    • philyew

      Just think about some numbers…

      There are 229 million people in the areas that TM has already deployed their 3G/HSPA+/LTE network.

      TM has about 45 million customers in total. That means that there are at least 184 million people INSIDE those areas who are NOT with TM. One of the biggest reasons that people say they won’t use TM is because they have poor indoor signal in the cities.

      The current total population is about 314 million. That means there are at most only 85 million people living OUTSIDE those areas who are not with TM.

      If you were deciding where to spend your money, would it be on buying spectrum guaranteed to improve reception in many of the cities, which can be deployed quickly in most locations, and which has a much higher return on investment per cell site, thus increasing the possibility that the 184 million came to your company with a much higher revenue?

      Or would you spend your money deploying new technology across a much larger area, with a lower return on investment per cell site, in pursuit of less than half that number of potential customers?

      Seriously, if it was your dollar, you would do exactly what TM is doing.

      • Owl_81

        Danny Tam-I don’t get great coverage in many parts of Upstate NY. In some areas I have no coverage and when it picks up for a moment, often results in dropped calls. Look at T-Mobile coverage map. You will see that they even show that many areas have no coverage. Sure, I might not live in those areas, but while driving through a snow storm, I would like to know that I have some kind of coverage in case something happens and I would like to contact help. And this is on top of having no data coverage where T-Mobile states 2G is available.

        Philyew-Your argument sounds like much of it is based on hearsay. for example, when I lived in Philly and travel back there I rarely had problems with coverage inside or outside of buildings. Sure, it may not be at blazing fast speeds at all times, but I had decent coverage with the ability to make calls and use data. I was just in Philly for a week and did not have a single problem with T-Mobile. So yes, we could continue to let this claim proliferate that urban areas are suffering with slow speeds. Or we can look at reality. T-Mobile has stores in Syracuse and Rochester, NY. They are clearly trying to market their service to this region. However, when driving the hour and half in between both cities coverage drop, so it is no wonder that they have a poor market here. Building out their coverage is all areas is where it makes the most sense if the company wants to stay in business. As Einstein said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” If T-Mobile continues to solve their coverage problems with the same thinking over and over, it isn’t going to get them very far.

        • philyew

          Which part is hearsay?

          The population numbers which demonstrate that there are still more than twice the number of potential new customers in the areas already covered by TM’s 3G/4G footprint than in the rest of the country put together?

          The science which can prove that a carrier with sub 1GHz coverage can expect much better structural penetration than one with only AWS and PCS spectrum?

          The fact that TM has just done a deal with Verizon to acquire 700MHz spectrum, mostly inside the existing 3G/4G footprint, which is worth over $3 billion in cash and traded spectrum?

          I may not have the hard numbers to prove that in-building coverage is a marketing issue for TM, but it is a stone cold certainty that the company has market analysis which has made them focus on incremental solutions to that problem over recent years. They are the only company offering baked-in wifi calling features on their phones and their plans. They made a specific point that their network modernization program in 2012-13 would mitigate part of the problem. Most recently they have just dropped a further $3 billion on a solution.

          You don’t dilute the value of your shareholding issuing common stock and sell off future revenue to raise almost $4 billion and then give it away without there being solid numbers supporting that as the best investment strategy. With less than half the customer base of the big two carriers and with a smaller revenue per customer, TM absolutely has to prioritize spending into capital budgets that have the largest potential rate of return.

          It isn’t hearsay to put all the above together and conclude that providing an urban service comparable with all other carriers, at a superior price, will yield a better return than any alternative program at the moment.

          That doesn’t mean that improvements outside the cities are entirely off the agenda. Aging equipment will have to be replaced, and when it is, the new equipment will be capable of using AWS licenses that are held in areas that currently offer only 2G service, even if they don’t immediately upgrade backhaul to be able to support LTE service.

          Because of the added range of the 700MHz signal, suburban coverage will improve and as a result there will be fewer 2G-only areas immediately surrounding the cities where it is deployed.

          Where fiber backhaul is affordably accessible, along larger highways and in small towns along those highways, I expect to see some improvement in the 4G footprint. In all though, it will likely come up short of of a comprehensive program in 2014 to upgrade the company’s 2G-only footprint.

          It would be nice if I was wrong. We’ll see.

    • dtam

      yes they do. you get great coverage outside but even with 2 bars and LTE inside, you still might not get data

  • Jay J. Blanco

    This is a great deal. T-Mobile will really have a edge competing for customers. Hope they buy U.S. Cellular 700mhz next.

  • vinnyjr

    T-Mobile just keeps getting better. Their Network is faster than all the other Carriers in my suburb out of Boston. No other Carrier is even close. My family has had them all and are slowly but surely all jumping on board with T-Mobile. Thank You T-Mobile.

  • a

    They hit the two areas in my experience had terrible coverage. All of Michigan was a dead zone, as was anywhere outside of urban areas in Indiana. They seem to be covered in these markets now. So for me, this news is better than good.

    • http://twitter.com/SParKlngCyaNide SparklingCyanide

      Metro Detroit and its Major suburbs (Livonia, Novi, Ann Arbor etc) all have fantastic coverage and has some of the most spectrum than any other Market. I assume you’re talking about Up North..

  • Eric

    Finally some love for south central PA. Hopefully we get some 4g over here. Ill even be happy with 3g.

  • RT

    When are they going to improve coverage in Cleveland TN? All of the major carriers have 4g coverage except for T-Mobile. They only have edge, and its a pretty decent population of customers who use T-mobile there. Myself included..

  • Laststop311

    AWESOME live in north east ohio, yay I get 700mhz spectrum