DoJ signs off on T-Mobile acquisition of Verizon’s A-block spectrum

antenna-mast

Things have been so noisy and persistent on the Sprint/SoftBank buyout rumor side that any mention of the 700MHz spectrum from Verizon has seemingly gone unnoticed. Earlier than anticipated, T-Mobile’s purchase of the A-block spectrum from VZW has been signed off by the Department of Justice.

“The U.S. Department of Justice brought its antitrust review of T-Mobile US Inc.’s acquisition of Verizon Wireless spectrum licenses to an early close Monday, giving its approval to the $3.3 billion deal just over a month after it was announced. 

The DOJ issued a notice that it was terminating its premerger evaluation of the transaction early, signing off on T-Mobile’s purchase of 700-megahertz A-block spectrum licenses from Verizon in exchange for $2.36 billion in cash and spectrum licenses valued at $950 million.”

As we’ve mentioned a couple of times – and stated by company executives – there’s going to be a significant wait until this lower band spectrum is utilized. It’s more than likely we won’t see any activity on these airwaves until the end of this year or beginning of 2015. With the antitrust review having been ended earlier than expected, let’s hope that means better quality signal is coming sooner rather than later.

Via: Law360 (subscription required), BennetLaw

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  • S. Ali

    T-Mobile had stated in their original presentation that build out could begin right after approval. Nothing stopping them from putting equipment in place or even going after additional 700mhz. I’d like the see TMO get aggressive with coverage now.

    • philyew

      Does this even need equipment at the cell site as long as it has already gone through the modernization program?

      The hold up is going to be getting devices that support the new spectrum.

      Maybe there is a relationship between the early approval of the deal and announced changes in the Jump! program? As soon as they do get a 700MHz A block-capable device on board, there will be a ton of people who want to change. Many will not have put in their 6 months from signing up on the old Jump! plan.

      • besweeet

        From what I understand, they’ll have to add 3 new antennas per cell site.

        • philyew

          I would be astonished, if that was the case. Can you share your source for this, please?

        • besweeet

          I read this quite a while back from a few people on HowardForums. Would take a long time to find the posts :(.

        • Jay Holm

          Howard
          Forums is as cool, and informative of a place as XDA Developers.

        • superg05

          indeed

        • philyew

          I just spent the last hour reading Howard Forums ;-)

          The discussion I was following didn’t really reach a firm conclusion, but you may well be right that there is some hardware requirement. The worst case seemed to be that hardware upgrade would be required even on the modernized towers, but it would be easy to do.

        • besweeet

          I’ve noticed that non-NSN sites typically have a space on the antenna rack for an extra antenna. Also from what I understand, T-Mobile’s taken steps years ago to sort of prepare themselves for these types of things.

        • ac21365

          NSN sites shouldn’t take much to add 700MHz. The Flexi Base Station can do pretty much whatever they want it to thanks to software-defined radios, and their antenna setups in the places I’ve seen have 3 panels, of which all of the 5 or 6 hookups on those panels are in use. Those existing panels are all high-band I think, so they could either just add a low-band panel like AT&T did with LTE here, or use a panel with both high band and low band bits inside of it(like other AT&T setups), and replace one of the currently deployed panels.

        • BlackLighted

          I am thinking it’s more like add 1 active multi-pol+ multi-band antenna (for 600-700-1900-2100MHz), and upgrade one of the existing 2 antennas.
          They already have fiber up to the top of the tower in markets using the Ericsson AIR21/32 platforms, and various RRU’s in others.
          The upgrade antenna would probably be Passive 700, but active 1900 HSPA/LTE.
          If you check the finer specs on newer phones like the Samsung GS4 you’ll notice it already is LTE ready for AWS, 1900, 850, and Band-17 700MHz.
          The new Band-12 spectrum is only a 5MHz extension on either side of Band-17, which AT&T is currently using, so existing phones might be adaptable to use it(with a software baseband/radio re-flash update) if the FCC signs off on it.
          If not, you just JUMP!, to a new phone.

        • Jay Holm

          “If the FCC signs off on it”? So this article says the DOJ has signed off, but the FCC is yet to?

        • philyew

          He’s talking about inventively changing the spec on the handset. Each phone has FCC approval for an agreed specification. The change he is suggesting might be possible, but would breach the approved spec on the device. However, the FCC might give separate approval, if it would work.

        • philyew

          While the reference in the previous message was about the FCC approving a change of spec on a handset, you have picked up an important point here, which most of us overlooked…The spectrum deal still requires FCC approval.

          In the past, the DoJ has been involved in Verizon spectrum deals because of the potential for impacting market concentration, but I’m not sure they are routinely involved in spectrum transfers, while the FCC is always involved.

          It may still take months for the FCC to sign off, so we should avoid reading too much into this news right now.

        • Jay Holm

          Dang! FCC takes tooooo daaaaamn long!!!

        • Allen Enriquez

          No wonder USA is failing we lose potential, more especially hardware/devices spectrum. I know history teaches us not to repeat, but still should not take a life time to make a decide for fcc!

        • Serge

          The FCC is right now collecting petitions to deny this deal. The last day to submit is Feb 28th.

        • lynyrd65

          Yeah, AT&T probably will out of spite.

        • ac21365

          The upgrade-of-band-17-phones thought has come up in the past, but sadly I don’t see it happening. Point being: From a profit point of view, why spend the time going back to re-certify an older model (rewritten radio stack, fcc approval, testing, etc) when you can include it only in a new model. Gives folks the incentive to upgrade and spend even more money.

        • Serge

          Band 17 phones cannot support band 12. They use narrow filters and besides that band 12 and band 17 use different signaling protocols.

        • Jay Holm

          Aaaand,…what exactly is an “NSN” site??? We’re not all cell tower engineers here…

        • philyew

          Nokia Siemens Networks…The manufacturer of a large amount of the equipment used for the network modernization. The load was split between NSN and Ericsson in order to ensure that the equipment could be delivered in time, so some sites are NSN, others are Ericsson.

          http://www.fiercewireless{dot}com/story/t-mobile-picks-ericsson-nsn-its-lte-vendors/2012-05-07

        • ac21365

          Sorry about that, Jay. Thanks philyew.

        • Jay Holm

          It’s nice to have someone
          as knowledgeable
          as yourself here!

        • turtle6988

          The Radios are frequency specific. FXFBs are 1900Mhz. FRIA, FRIE, FRIG are either 1700MHZ or 2100MHZ. The same base stations currently used will still be used but a new RF module will be needed

        • Jay Holm

          Ahh…that makes sense! Hey, whatever it takes to get it done in a timely fashion.

        • tmo

          Nokia equipment

        • lynyrd65

          Nokia Siemens

          in T-Mobile’s case the NSN Flexi base station.

          Its the brand of the equipment on the cell sites.

  • chevyonly

    With the way that T-Mobile has been rolling out their 4G LTE service I would think that this new lower spectrum would be rolled out by the end of this year. I hope that is the case cause the area I live in needs it bad. Glade to see the deal signed off already.

  • xmiro

    they’ll have to work around the potential interference issues with TV stations on Channel 51 which is probably what’s going to eat up the bulk of the deployment time.

    The other is deploying the spectrum in the proper density and power level. I read that while 700Mhz propagates well you can’t have towers too close to each other

    And they probably don’t need new antennas on the poles but merely a software update from Nokia/Siemens/Ericsson for the base stations.

    • philyew

      There are a number of markets covered by the deal that don’t have issues with channel 51 broadcasters. Where there are broadcasters, the FCC has previously blocked deployment, so I don’t know that they are going to be rushing to do anything this year in places like NYC, SF or LA.

      • xmiro

        we’ll have it in Miami but I certainly wouldn’t be able to take advantage on a 2yr old phone :)

        • philyew

          Exactly…which is why I’m wondering if there is a link with the change in the Jump! program to allow updates at any time (subject to small print)

      • turtle6988

        Michigan only has the issue in the Lansing area. There is a 50 mile radius around there that this frequency cannot be deployed until the channel 51 issue is resolved

    • Roger Sales

      Still has an immediate impact in any rural portions of the metro areas since the signals aren’t being broadcast there(which is where its most needed) – as well as the markets that don’t have channel 51 period.

      • Jay Holm

        Shouldn’t be much longer before we will find out IF T-Mobile really is serious about rural coverage. . . .

        • Roger Sales

          having a lower band means its a LOT cheaper for them to deploy LTE on rural towers, since the signal goes much farther – there’s very little reason not to.

        • philyew

          We need to remember that the biggest constraint on extending beyond the current 3G/HSPA+ footprint is still going to be backhaul.

        • Jay Holm

          Some aggressive leadership would help too! Look at how fast both Vzn & ATT passed 400 LTE markets, that’s what I call being aggressive. If T-Mobile ever wants to reach the strata of the Big 2, they need to be more aggressive with coverage. We’ll know sometime in the next 10-12mo’s -IF- T-Mobile has any true aggressive leadership, other than just Uncarrier promotions. . .

        • philyew

          As a publicly listed company, you have to have a strong financial basis to justify investment.

          We know that TM had to dilute current stock and enter into further debt in order to raise the money to fund the current activity in the sub-11GHz range. That and their other initiatives (what you describe as “Uncarrier promotions”) now has to support increased revenues from their target markets in order to create a favorable balance between the value of the company and any further debt they wish to enter into in order to roll their network modernization throughout most of the country.

          That is always going to be a weak value proposition, because the ability to make a reasonable return on the investment in most of those locations simply doesn’t exist. Having access to sub-1GHz spectrum is essential in order to limit the number of cell sites that will need to be provisioned, not only with equipment but also, crucially, fiber backhaul in places where that is a real challenge.

          If you’re waiting to see an extended footprint as proof of aggressive management, it could (and probably should) be a very long wait.

        • Jay Holm

          Me specifically it’s not that important to, but in order to level out the market, increasing coverage will have to happen. I just don’t like 2 companies controlling 67% of the entire industry.

        • philyew

          I don’t disagree in principle, but the practical challenge is a whole other matter.

          It isn’t a matter of “if you build it, they will come.” With an already saturated market, you have to assume that pretty much everyone who is going to have a mobile phone already has one. That means you have to build out with the hope that you can then prise customers away from their current provider.

          While the population concentration in the larger markets can support its own growth, because there already is a revenue base that can sustain the investment, rural build out initially has to be funded from those same urban revenue sources. TM therefore has to optimize its earnings from the urban investment in order to extend its modernized footprint elsewhere.

          They can’t go on borrowing indefinitely to fund growth and they are pretty much maxed out at the moment, with the value of the company only exceeding its debt by around 20-25%.

          If I was an urban customer with AT&T or Verizon, and was dubious about shifting to TM, the first thing I would want to know would be whether signal was reliable where I lived and worked i.e. in the city…not where I spent a few hours each weekend or vacation. If the signal in my home or office sucked, no amount of rural coverage would persuade me to change. Since there are far more people in this situation than there are in the smaller markets, TM’s current strategy is the only way they can hope to progress.

        • Jay Holm

          I agree with you. Problem is an overwhelming majority of ATT & Vzn’s customers don’t. As long as that remains the case, ATT & Vzn will continue to control a large portion of the U.S. market.

        • Allen Enriquez

          I wonder if T-Mobile us is finding ways to introduce 4g lte-a?

        • philyew

          They announced at CES last month that they had recorded download speeds of 147mbps In the Dallas market, so the answer looks like yes, but they haven’t claimed it yet.

        • Moby

          AT&T and Verizon have a lot more revenue to spend than T-Mobile does. T-Mobile has a limited amount of resources. They will spend their money on where they get the most bang for the buck. If you don’t like their coverage, then start paying AT&T and Verizon prices for service.

        • turtle6988

          One word…Microwave. I work for T-Mobile and we are using Microwave to shoot ethernet to locations where it is to costly to have fiber ran.

        • philyew

          Interesting. I read somewhere that AT&T and Verizon are specifying fiber for all their backhaul. Delays in delivery of fiber backhaul have been used as an excuse for the slow roll out of Sprint’s Network Vision.

          That may be be the case, but I’m wondering if they have avoided microwave for good reason? I haven’t used it for almost 10 years and I’m sure there have been substantial improvements in capacity, range and reliability, but all the same, I wasn’t wild about it in my experience.

        • superg05

          wireless relays are made for that

        • xmiro

          The 2G network actually covers quite a bit and is about ~80% the AT&T footprint and almost on par with Sprint. It’s that T-Mobile is not upgrading those areas to 3G or 4G/LTE.

          700Mhz would help as the signal does go further in rural areas with 1 tower but there’s still the problem of backhaul – getting fiber to the towers could get expensive – and whether the amount of potential subscribers would justify the cost of covering them

        • lynyrd65

          Microwave is inexpensive. Why can sprint do it but T-Mobile can’t?

  • Jay Holm

    Anything more required to start deploying? DOJ= Check, FCC=Check? Hmm,…I wonder if this will make it so that T-Mobile can request that Samsung includes 700 support in the S5???

    • taron19119

      No won’t happen its to late I just hope they don’t pull a gs3

      • Jay Holm

        I’m still open minded to being surprised…

      • ac21365

        While the likelihood of getting band 12 on a current handset is pretty much nil, AT&T did agree to entertain band 12 instead of 17 in new handsets back in September 2013. I’m -really- hoping that the GS5, next Nexus, and the like all will have band 12 instead of 17 in them. We will see come later this month.

  • besweeet

    Now they’ll just have to get device manufacturers to add support for this band/frequency and get people who have building penetration issues to change phones.

    • ac21365

      Aye, as I said below, I’m really hoping the GS5 and all subsequent phones come with band 12 out of the box, as both AT&T and T-Mobile now agree to acknowledge and use the band, respectively.

      • besweeet

        I’d be shocked if that’s not how things end up.

      • Serge

        Cell phones are usually tested for the FCC certification about three-four months before the official sales. Besides that companies don’t like to make changes in the last minute. It’s highly unlikely any phone released before May will support band 12.

    • nycplayboy78

      Yes my biggest complaint is building penetration with T-Mo…Even though I live in the Washington, DC Metro area free wifi is few and far between here…Go to Tyson’s Corner for instance….SIGH…Don’t get me started about the crappy ass DC Subway system…LAWD!!!!

  • Jay J. Blanco

    awesomesause !

  • J-Hop2o6

    I still honestly think they should’ve just waited to use that money (+ w/o giving up spectrum) towards the 600MHz auction, since this spectrum isn’t nationwide (very few markets), CH.51 blockage in most of its (700-A) covered markets, and expensive for only a few markets. By the time Tmo is able to fully utilize the spectrum, the 600MHz auction will be starting. So I hope Tmo will be able to get ATLEAST 20MHz of nationwide 600MHz spectrum, which won’t be cheap (and hopefully VZN & AT&T won’t have first dibs in the auction).

    • Jay Holm

      Keyword-NATIONWIDE!!! I’m sick of this spectrum that only covers a limited amount of markets. T-Mobile really needs to kick the whole coverage thing into high-gear if they really want to get the attention of ATT & Vzn’s customers.

      • Moby

        T-Mobile isn’t going to waste time upgrading the boonies as some people advocate. Focusing on rolling out LTE to major population centers last year gained more subscribers and it was the correct thing to do.

        • Trevnerdio

          Yeah, but one thing people tend to overlook is simply covering major highways. For instance, I-10. It’s coast-to-coast and the only time we get more than GSM/GPRS/EDGE is when we’re close to cities. Many, many people travel these roads and it would certainly not be a waste to deploy in these locations.

    • philyew

      According to statements from John Legere and Neville Ray, none of the spectrum they gave up impacts their plans for 20 + 20 wideband deployment. The majority of the population in the covered areas won’t have channel 51 issues, and the total coverage represents slightly over half of the entire population.

      Waiting for the 600MHz incentive auction means sitting on their hands for the next 18 months…or relying on poor-value investment in extending their 3G/HSPA+/LTE footprint into much more sparsely populated areas in order to maintain some kind of momentum.

      TM’s strategy is dependent in getting the most effective return from every dollar they invest, which is why they continue to concentrate their spending on their existing 3G/HSPA+/LTE footprint, as there are still over 180 million potential customers in those areas, compared with less than half that number throughout the rest of the country.

      It is crucial that they succeed in building their revenue now so that they have the means to raise sufficient capital to fund their involvement in the 600MHz auction. There is no guarantee that, if they had kept their powder dry until the auction, the company would be able to raise the money needed to succeed.

      • Jay Holm

        All very good points! Mid-2015 seems like such a long ways away. I hope the U.S. market gets leveled out more soon.

        • Moby

          Fourth quarter 2014 is not that far away when they will first be selling handsets to use on the 700 spectrum.

    • Moby

      Most of the 700 spectrum is NOT in Channel 51 blocked areas. As was stated by Tmobile in Fierce Wireless:

      “T-Mobile said its A Block buildout can start in 2014 outside the channel 51 service areas, with more than 50 percent of the covered A Block population in such areas. The carrier also said initial markets where channel 51 is not present include Dallas, Houston, Miami, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. , and that it has around 15,000 cell sites outside of channel 51 areas. ”

      So it’s great that T-Mobile is moving forward and expanding and not waiting for some indefinite auction to begin which won’t be implemented until years into the future.

  • G Money

    Everthing is great with tmobile except for the phone insurance pay high deductables ccomeon fix this crap and get rid of the 2g,3g areas

    • Jay Holm

      The deductible bothers me too! I looked into it, $25 higher
      than Sprint.

      • KingCobra

        You also have to remember that Sprint phones are significantly less valuable than T-Mobile phones.

    • G

      Your per month charge for insurance is a bit cheaper then what Sprint charges, plus it includes a couple added benefits like Jump, extended warranty, and Lookout/Mobile Security.

  • Juan Pablo Darquea

    I check on HTC web site and HTC one is 700 ready:-) awesome

    • enkay1

      Not 700-A. Only 700-B for AT&T. You will need a new phone.

      • sushimane

        What about nexus 5

        • Serge

          Negative. There is no GSM phones on the market that support band 12 (700 MHz A block).

        • Chorrodehumo

          What about Samsung Galaxy ligth (SGH-T399)
          We have one and it says 700 mhz lte

        • Serge

          Nope. From the specifications at samsung com: LTE: Band 4 (1700), Band 17 (700). Phone has to support band 12 to access block A.

        • enkay1

          Nope.

  • Trevnerdio

    Oh great TmoTech…where are you when we need you?

  • Eric

    I’m just hoping current smartphones can have software updates or some kind of radio updates to access the 700A MHz so we don’t have to go out there and waste more money on a newer phone.

    • enkay1

      It’s not that simple. No GSM/LTE phones support 700-A. Only certain US Cellular CDMA/LTE phones. New phones will be required to use the new network.

      • Jay Holm

        Yes! New, as in the S5 will have it (hopefully).

  • enkay1

    My market is outside TV channel 51 contours! I hope they start their rollout really soon!

  • vinnyjr

    T-Mobile can do no wrong in my eyes. My HSPA+ and LTE speeds keep getting faster. My area has also been refarmed with the 1900 Network. T-Mobile blows all other Carriers away in my area. (Suburb of Boston) Thank You T-Mobile.

  • VapidRapidRabbit

    I got sick of waiting for them to upgrade my area. My city had HSPA+, but all of the surrounding areas had EDGE, GPRS, or No Service. I left to go back to AT&T today after 8 years with T-Mobile because I got sick of having poor service. Even when their HSPA+ network went down they didn’t give us any credit or anything towards our bill when we couldn’t even use our phones for anything other than phone calls (where you have coverage) for an entire week. I also found out they were throttling me whenever I reached my data limit no matter if I used my allotted amount on EDGE or 4G. That was the last straw.

    • Danny Lewis

      I’m impressed you reached your limit on edge!

  • emcdonald75

    I have grown tired of waiting for improved coverage. T-Mobile has a serious coverage problem. So I rejoined AT&T after two years with T-Mobile. I thought I could deal with the GPRS/EDGE, No Service and the limited roaming (50MB to 100MB) options, but I could not. Also, my job is requiring me to travel around the state of Mississippi more for work-related purposes and I needed improved coverage. I am still pushing for T-Mobile to do better so that I can return to their great prices and incentives, i.e. JUMP. Believe me, my bill went up by $30 with AT&T minus the unlimited data (10GB with AT&T) and insurance that T-Mobile provided. Cell phones have to be used for communication as well as the other multimedia functions they perform, and I did not realize how important voice and high speed data coverage was until I actually needed them. I love T-Mobile but I had to leave because that was the best option for ME, at least for now.

    • KB

      If I had to travel for work, I would probably leave T-Mobile also. I only have issues in a couple buildings that I don’t go to often, I hope this 700MHz will fix the few buildings that have an iffy data signal.

    • Danny Lewis

      I’m in the same boat as you. I switched to AT&T when I could join up without a contract. Once T-Mobile coverage improves enough to where I can drive down the interstate and stay on 4g or greater, I will switch back. I’m rooting for them, but I like having data coverage where I go.

  • http://www.twitter.com/the_sundaypaper Sebastiaan van den Berg

    Instead of investing in a band that current phones (T-Mo phones) are not supporting they should just invest in upgrading current GPRS/EDGE bands… T-Mobile is constantly referring me to this crap ass website (Take over something something) but filling that out doesn’t do anything.

    • philyew

      Improving their existing spectrum won’t do anything to improve signal penetration in the markets where most of their existing and potential customers live and work. You need sub-1GHZ spectrum for that and, until now, TM never had any.

      Once they get the best possible coverage in the cities and larger markets, thereby continuing to increase their subscriber base, they can raise the funds to complete the network modernization throughout other parts of the country.

      • lynyrd65

        How does Sprint do it with 1900? There is nothing stopping tmo from upgrading their 2G sites using their existing spectrum (which they have plenty of) but themselves.

        • philyew

          It’s a matter of prioritizing investment to get the most effective return. TM has decided that it needs to spend money in its largest markets to get a network which competes with AT&T and Verizon on every level.

          Since you can only only do that by using sub-1GHz spectrum (i.e. the 700 A block they just bought from Verizon), that’s where they are going to concentrate their efforts and their cash. It makes sense because there are over 180 million potential customers in those areas, whereas there are less than 90 million potential customers in the areas that are served by 2G-only service.

          What stops TM from concentrating on the 2G-only areas is quite simply the fact that there is far less value in doing that than the program they are following at the moment. Right now they simply don’t have enough money to do both simultaneously.

        • lynyrd65

          Only 90million customers to be gained!?
          That’s almost all of Verizon’s user base.

          What you and T-Mobile lack the vision to recognise is that there are many more customers to be gained than those they don’t already cover. It’s the people who are already covered they have to gain. These people desire coverage beyond where they live to areas they drive through. I refuse to support a carrier that can’t supply data fast enough for google maps to work when I’m driving. I and millions others who would switch otherwise if they made the smart decision to upgrade their worthless 2G to something wort paying for.

        • philyew

          You’re missing my point entirely, I’m afraid.

          I’m fully aware that it’s the people they already cover who need to be their primary target. Those are the people who make up the 180 million I was talking about (e.g. their 229 million 3G/HSPA+/LTE footprint, less their current 46 million customer base.)

          What you fail to realize, it seems, is that there are more people in those areas who won’t sign up for TM because of the poor indoor signal than won’t sign up because of poor signals while in transit outside those areas.

          The advantage of concentrating spending on sub-1GHz spectrum is that it improves indoor signal strength in the cities and suburbs and extends suburban coverage from the existing modernized towers because of the greater range of 700MHz compared with either PCS or AWS.

          Of course it would be great if they had the cash to be able to spend money on 700MHz AND rural coverage simultaneously, but they had to issue new shares worth $1.8 billion and enter into $2 billion of new debt to raise the money to fund their current program for 700MHz.

          Spending that money on urban service delivers a much greater rate of return than spending the same amount on rural coverage where the deployment costs are higher and customer concentration per tower is much less. The resulting revenue from urban spending is much greater.

          Rather than lacking vision, I think I am factoring in a lot more essential considerations than those who argue that the most important thing for TM right now is upgrading their 2G-only service.

        • Steve

          I could not disagree more. I think it is short sighted to focus on one area, but say you are trying as a company to complete with your market leaders. I think to compete, you have to provide services similar to those competitors. In T-Mobile’s case, that would be not only providing service where people live, but where they visit, vacation, etc. I think this gives people not only value for their bill, but most importantly a sense of security. Obviously, that security is important as the top two have the coverage to back up that sense of security, and the subscriber numbers to provide it.

        • philyew

          How exactly are they going to magically produce all the money needed to build out a network which competes with Verizon and AT&T on all levels?

          Both of those companies have at least 60 million more subscribers than TM and both have significantly higher Average Revenue Per User, meaning that their revenue base is huge compared with TM.

          Whether you have 20 subscribers in an area or 200, you still have to spend broadly the same amount of money to provision the cell site. It is therefore impossible for TM to develop and operate a comparable network without using an incremental strategy.

          Part of the challenge they face is that they didn’t, until now, have any sub-1GHz spectrum which plays such an important part in the quality of urban service, and reduces the density of cell sites required to propagate rural service.

          Making a significant entry into that part of the market costs billions. It just cost them $3.4 billion in cash and equivalent spectrum to get a 700MHz footprint covering half the population. If they had spent only a fraction of that to buy fewer licenses from Verizon, in order to retain funds to spend on rural growth, it is entirely possible that the remaining licenses wouldn’t have been available when they were next ready to invest in sub-1GHz spectrum. That decision may have meant that they had no immediate opportunity to launch signal-efficient service in markets like New York, LA and San Francisco when the channel 51 issues are cleared next year.

          I’m not sure what you mean about having a sense of security. If you mean having cell phone service wherever you go for emergencies, then – for 911 service – it doesn’t matter whether your carrier is active in an area or not. It should always be possible to get 911 service on another provider’s network if your own is not available. If that’s not what you mean by a sense of security then you will need to explain further.

          This isn’t about deciding not to compete on certain levels. It’s about working out the most effective investment strategy to build the business and generate the capital to continue the growth of the network over several years, because it simply isn’t possible to address everything in the short term.

        • Guest

          In the spirit of “open debate”, someone flagged my last response as inappropriate. Thanks.

          Here it is anyway…

          How exactly are they going to magically produce all the money needed to build out a network which competes with Verizon and AT&T on all levels?
          Both of those companies have at least 60 million more subscribers than TM and both have significantly higher Average Revenue Per User, meaning that their revenue base is huge compared with TM.
          Whether you have 20 subscribers in an area or 200, you still have to spend broadly the same amount of money to provision the cell site. It is therefore impossible for TM to develop and operate a comparable network without using an incremental strategy.
          Part of the challenge they face is that they didn’t, until now, have any sub-1GHz spectrum which plays such an important part in the quality of urban service, and reduces the density of cell sites required to propagate rural service.
          Making a significant entry into that part of the market costs billions. It just cost them $3.4 billion in cash and equivalent spectrum to get a 700MHz footprint covering half the population. If they had spent only a fraction of that to buy fewer licenses from Verizon, in order to retain funds to spend on rural growth, it is entirely possible that the remaining licenses wouldn’t have been available when they were next ready to invest in sub-1GHz spectrum. That decision may have meant that they had no immediate opportunity to launch signal-efficient service in markets like New York, LA and San Francisco when the channel 51 issues are cleared next year.
          I’m not sure what you mean about having a sense of security. If you mean having cell phone service wherever you go for emergencies, then – for 911 service – it doesn’t matter whether your carrier is active in an area or not. It should always be possible to get 911 service on another provider’s network if your own is not available. If that’s not what you mean by a sense of security then you will need to explain further.
          This isn’t about deciding not to compete on certain levels. It’s about working out the most effective investment strategy to build the business and generate the capital to continue the growth of the network over several years, because it simply isn’t possible to address everything in the short term.

        • Guest

          It seems every time I respond to this message, it is flagged as spam, but there is nothing remotely problematic in the content. You’ll have to wait for Cam to moderate the message to get a proper response.

    • Alex Zapata

      It’s a bit more complicated than that…..

  • sushimane

    I don’t know much about spectrum block but from what I read so far Verizon has a block 700 and att has 700 b block can anyone tell me the different between them? Is this y the nexus 5 would work on att network and still be able to use 4g lte same goes with sprint. I saw the frequencies that nexus 5 support and I saw 700 and 800. So would anyone would like to tell me the difference between a and block?

    • Eric

      700MHz B is a few megahertz away from 700MHz A and C and vise versa.

      • sushimane

        Which one is better a or b? For me I always thought the 700mhz a was strictly a CDMA frequency lol

        • Eric

          700MHz B and C are widely supported by pretty much all smartphones today. Unfourtanely for T-Mobile, their customers will need to buy a new phone to use the A block (unless we get radio updates).

          700MHz A is slightly better for coverage than B, since it has a slightly lower frequency.

        • sushimane

          oh ok. got cha thanks for the information. with the frequency auction do they auction all block a,b,c etc? i know 600mhz is next to be auction and it’s pretty important for tmobile to get sum of that from what i heard. im happy with im getting.

        • Eric

          Yes, unless carriers want to leave the auction.

        • sushimane

          what do u mean leave the auction? i know the carrier has the option to opt out if they want to but i doubt any of the carrier would. sprint on the other hand should opt out because of how much specturm they have and not using i wanna say if ur not using the spectrum u should lose it lol. because from what i read sprint launch wimax is because of the nextel frequency if u dont use it u lose it. lol

        • Eric

          Yes, I agree on the fact that Sprint shouldn’t enter the 600MHz auction, but spectrum is a rare commodity and carriers who pay for it should keep it for as long as they can, because what is the point of paying billions upon billions of spectrum that we can’t see, and then lose it?

        • sushimane

          i dont know it just doesnt seem right for any carrier to hoard spectrum if ur not gonna use it. its only a rare commodity if carrier just dont use. i know u pay for it u should keep it but on the other hand if you cant seem to make the whole network to work i cant seem to see why get more and add more on to the problem. know what i mean. but i will say when sprint could ever figure out how to actually manage their network great their network would be robust but at the moment tmobile is working their way little by little. but hopefully tmobile would manage a win on the auction this would help them greatly even with the 700 a block is good only when they put it into work and phone would support it in the near future.

        • Eric

          I understand.

    • philyew

      Try this:

      http://en.m.wikipedia{dot}org/wiki/United_States_2008_wireless_spectrum_auction

      The sections “Auction” and “Result of the Auction” best answer your question.

      I’m not aware of any inaccuracies here, but as usual caution is advised when using Wikipedia.

  • Melissa Cardenas

    Aww i guess my new xperia z1s dont support this band?

    • Jay Holm

      I’m hoping the S5 will. It’s good to be future-proof. Your very pretty Melissa.

    • Danny Lewis

      Nope, no phones will until newer models come out that will specifically have it included.

  • TMO Fan

    Off topic, but does anyone know what happened to David Beren? I don’t see his articles lately

    • Tmo rep

      He just got hired by Tmobile.

      • fsured

        Wow, that is pretty neat. Seems like an opportunity to work in a “dream job” for him.

        • sidekicker89

          I believe he works with T-Mobile’s Social Media team. :) very happy for him!

        • TMO Fan

          Good things happen to good people. Really happy for him too!!! Thanks for letting me know.

  • dontsh00tmesanta

    Its all good most tmo customers are happy with current coverage. I guess I’ll keep my note3 until either it can get a radio update which is doubt full and then get a 700mhz note 4 lol

  • sidekicker89

    I wonder if John Legere & Co. will talk about this during the Q4 earnings call! Hope so! :D

    • Jay Holm

      I want to hear more talk about progress on deploying Wideband LTE in more markets than just Dallas!

      • yeah right

        I personally want to hear about the purchasing of more 700mhz spectrum across the country… T-Mobile could purchase 5 more blocks of spectrum holders across the country and have this LTE band available in 30 – 35 of 50 states relatively quickly

  • Melissa Cardenas

    I also been thinking will this new band be for data only? Or for voice too?Because i read on other websites it will be for data only sure it would be great if this improved tmobile signal in buildings it dnt work right now on the data side but what bout voice? Because it would be sucky if u could use data but no voice.

    • Stefan Naumowicz

      VoLTE will be rolled out by the time (or at least shortly after) this band is put to use. Also, in my experience, if data is unavailable indoors i am at least able to get EDGE which is just fine for voice anyway.

      • Melissa Cardenas

        Me too in SOME buildings yes i get lucky and get EDGE, but in some in dwtwn LA I get nada and the one i work i drop down to.”G” and 99% my calls are dropped and dont go tru in the elevator, cafeteria etc wifi is to slow for wifi calling so yea it sucks and since i read 700 band will cover most of California i got happy, and yes like u said hopefully they allow volte on this new band even if i have to buy a new phone ill do it!

        • Stefan Naumowicz

          Different experiences for different areas i guess. Where i am (Albany NY) I always am able to get a solid 2g connection if 4g isnt available in a building, and most of the time i get a strong 4g signal anyway, even indoors; The only place i have a problem is where i work. (Of course its the place i could use it the most, LOL) But either way the 700 band and VoLTE should fix your problems. Sadly my area is not covered by that spectrum tmo got from verizon, so no improvements on the horizon for me

        • Frettfreak

          I havent heard that about he 700 band but would be GREAT if it helped my signal here in CA. I am lucky enough to have a spot (very small spot) that i get LTE at my house but i travel out of that and its not great!

  • Jeff Stefanski

    Just bought the tmo n3 on 2.20.14 the phone was made on 2.10.14 it shows on the label.on the back of the box, the specs say primary lte bands 1700,and 700. Other lte bands 2100,1900,850, and 2600.

  • Jeff Stefanski

    Im assuming tmobile is starting to add to all new ones from factory