FCC approves T-Mobile acquisition of Verizon’s A-block 700MHz airwaves

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T-Mobile’s official acquisition of Verizon’s 700MHz A-block spectrum is moving ahead quickly as the FCC gave its blessing to the transaction yesterday. In response to the approval, Kathleen Ham, T-Mobile’s VP of Federal Regulatory Affairs  thanked the FCC in an emailed statement.

“T-Mobile is pleased by the FCC’s prompt approval of our acquisition of 700 MHz A-Block spectrum, which will provide the company with low-band spectrum in a number of key markets across the country.”

It’s expected that the deal will be complete by June, and that the spectrum will be put in to use towards the end of this year/beginning of next. And it’s vital to T-Mobile’s plans to compete with the big guns. Low band airwaves are key, and are much better at getting inside buildings than the higher frequencies currently used by Magenta.

Via: WirelessWeek

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  • Paul Garrison

    Thanks FCC, you are good for something.

  • kev2684

    that’s a start. Jacksonville is not covered but I’m happy for other customers that will benefit from this. t-mobile needs 600mhz auction to push through already so they can start taking customers from the twin giants fast

  • NOYB

    Yes!!! I have been anxiously waiting for this!

  • taron19119

    May first I want to hear how soon phones useing this band is coming

  • RefarmAllPCSnowPlease

    I feel bad for T-Mobile for sacrificing the PCS and AWS licenses for this 700A spectrum.

    Verizon does not need any more spectrum. They will just let it it sit unused or if ever, disgusting cdma on pcs and fringe lte on aws.. terrible use of spectrum. Tmo got just 5MHz of lte (downlink) and channel 51 still jams it on certain places.

    • taron19119

      Carrier aggression will fix that so its a good move for t-mobile

      • NOYB

        Explain “Carrie aggression”!

        • taron19119

          carrier aggregation is using two bands of LTE at once and therefore you will get a higher download speed

        • JosephLagalla

          Carrier aggregation* Carrier aggression is just the way t-mobile is in marketing with Legere at the helm

        • NOYB

          Thanks. I was just going to say that.

        • taron19119

          http://ww w.3gpp.org/technologies/keywords. -acronyms/101-carrier-aggregation-explained

        • Alex Zapata

          Not to nitpick, but carrier aggregation is using multiple disparate channels as a single data path. I believe the current 3GPP specs allow for up to 5 channels of up to 20MHz each, although I think the latest devices only support up to 3x20MHz aggregation.

        • thepanttherlady

          I think the OP may have meant carrier not carrie

        • taron19119

          Lol that’s y I hate autocorrect

        • Eric Bogle

          Yes, finally, it is carrier aggregation. “Carrie aggression” (originally said before correcting) would be the violent response of a troubled teenage girl with telekinetic powers.

    • kev2684

      Verizon is deploying AWS LTE too.

    • Danny Lewis

      I wish there was a clause that any spectrum holdings must be utilized for their respective industry 2 years after acquisition or the FCC will reclaim it and auction it off to prevent spectrum squatting.

      • philyew

        There are limitations on non-deployment, but they are much longer than the two years you are suggesting. The corollary to a tighter timescale, however, must be that the bandwidth is immediately available to the new licensees. TM wasn’t able to deploy service on the AWS band for over two years because of delays by the previous occupants in vacating the bandwidth.

  • Garblicks

    I’m holding out as long as I can. No need to get another phone without low band spectrum. Hopefully my note 3 will lat that long

    • Chris

      I’m still using my Note 2 and it’s killing it. I will probably upgrade to the Note 4 tho if it has enough improvements.

      • Erik

        I agree. I’m waiting on the Note 4 as well. There wasn’t huge performance and feature differences for me to get the Note 3 from the Note 2. Note 4 going to be a beast of a device. Can’t wait!

        • Chris

          Exact same here! Note 3 was great but not worth the money to upgrade. The 4 tho…I’m hoping it’s going to be awesome!

          I’m looking closely at the LG G 3 tho…that UI leak made it look very interesting, and LG has been killing it with hardware lately. Did you see…I think it was phonedog’s comparison of the S5 (yes S5 not S4) vs the LG G 2 in video recording? G2 blew it out of the water! It was insane…

      • Jay Holm

        Going from a Note 2 to a Note 4 would be a big jump, of course there will be a lot of improvements.

        • Chris

          We’ll have to see…Note 2 still does everything I need and I wouldn’t mind waiting if the 4 isn’t “revolutionary” enough.

          Crazy for me to say as I used to upgrade phones every 4-12 months before getting the Note 2.

    • Pitahson

      Also if you are somewhat of a spec fanatic, then also, the snapdragon 808 and 810 are worth waiting for.

  • dontsh00tmesanta

    By the time this happens I will be asked to jump from my HTC one m8

  • dd23

    Yay finally. I just hope it really does work inside buildings better to call and text.

  • Lou

    Darn it. Won’t work with my upcoming OnePlus One.

    • Nick

      Ikr. Oh well, it’ll be an amazing phone anyways :)

  • PK

    I would assume that the coming iPhone 6 on tmobile will be compatible on this band?

    • maximus1901

      No

      • Jay Holm

        Stop being negative, the spectrum has been approved, there is no reason T-Mobile can’t start asking manufacturers to include it in new handsets RIGHT NOW!

    • dd23

      I hope the iPhone 6 and lg g3 support this new band.

      • Jay Holm

        I’d be surprised if they didn’t, well at least the G3, Apple is always slow to adoption.

  • dave33

    i had verizon before and here in LA lte drops down to 3G IN buildings and stores like walmart,kmart,macys etc.. plenty of phones i had with them droid x,iphone 5,galaxy s3 i noticed the saME ON all phones full bars lte i walk in store lte keeps getting weaker halfways tru the store bam full bars 3G EVDO SO Much for 700 mhz lte which i heard verizon used 700 mhz..right now i have tmobile which same it gets bad in buildings i was thinking this would fix this but if its the same as the 700 mhz band verizon uses its gonna be bad well here in LA maybe somewhere else it might be good but here in LA is a bad experience..AND i still know people who still have verizon till this day and still complain how there phones get 3G Deep in stores ..maybe thats why they let tmobile have it cuz they know it sucks .

  • hanfeedback

    Im hoping the Note 4 has it since thats what I am buying next.

  • sushimane

    Now That the spectrum swap is good T-Mobile need to save up for the 600 MHz auction. More money mean higher chance to get a good chuck of 600mhz for the future after everything is integrated.

  • TMOguy

    I’m waiting to hear when they buy the rest of the licenses.. I really hope that is happening.
    And when phones are made to support this band – still saying early Q4 (which I am also hoping means the Note 4)

  • archerian

    This is the LTE Band 12 right?

    • Kidney_Thief

      Correct.

      • archerian

        We have a 6 mhz band here in my area … since ATT has committed to ensuring 50% of all its new devices will be Band 12 capable in 2014, 75% in 2015 and 100% in 2016+, looks like the phones I want should be operable in this band by the time T-mobile deploys on it.

  • Chris Stoike

    Since i am a METRO PCS customer hopefully this help them expand their service in the Northern part of Michigan which there is no coverage at all !!!

  • Jay Holm

    Soo…do people still think it won’t be til “Q4″ that T-Mobile will have 700mhz equipped phones? Really? I think there’s a good chance the LG G3 will have 700 supoort. I’m not suggesting the network will be launched in time for the G3, but I do think the G3 will at least be equipped with it. And hopefully T-Mobile will combine the 700 spectrum, and get some carrier aggregation going so we can get some sweet 100-120mbps speeeds, ohhhhh yeah!!!

    • Matt

      The current iPhone 5S doesn’t have 700mhz capability :(

    • randomnerd_number38

      People think that it will be Q4 because that’s what some T-Mobile executives have stated. I suppose it’s possible that they were being conservative with the estimates though. I won’t hold my breath. Hope you get your wish.

  • JaswinderSinghJammu

    I have a Nexus 5 and coverage in my building sucks and so does my boss’s who has iphone 5s but he also has an ipad with LTE (All T Mobile service) and ipad connects to LTE and it’s crazy fast. Any thoughts or ideas on why?

    • Stefan Naumowicz

      Bigger, more powerful antenna in the tablet

    • John

      Number of people have problem with N5 you should get your RMA by contacting google

      • JaswinderSinghJammu

        John it’s not the device. It’s all phone that are LTE enabled and never pick up LTE signal in here. It works just fine right outside of the building. What Stefan wrote makes much more sense. Ipad Air just has a more power antenna

        • Stefan Naumowicz

          I have the same issue, my last 2 phones were gs3 and g2, both get full signal edge at work with an occasional blip of 4g, meanwhile galaxy note 8 and asus vivotab both get 2-3 bars 4g

        • JaswinderSinghJammu

          Sounds like no solutions around? I am thinking getting a prepaid ATT or Verizon LTE sim for data only coverage at this point. I called T Mobile and someone is suppose to call me back with an update tomorrow. I will report the results tomorrow after the call.

        • superg05

          newer hardware have better antenna and software

  • Baz

    Anyone see any new 4G or LTE deployments in their respective neighborhoods? Still pretty quiet here in the Delaware/Eastern Pennsylvania region. 2G still a big problem in my suburb.

    Cam, where is the page for discussing new deployments that you promised us?

    • Jay Holm

      Nope, not here in Ct. I just drove on Route 69 recently, which goes between Waterbury and New Haven, still 2G in parts of Route 69. Anyone notice any improvements, please share your location.

      • Luis

        Hey Jay what phone do you have. I’m using a rooted Note 2 and I get HSPA on Route 69 but with my Nexus 5 I get EDGE and sometimes GPRS>!!!

        • FluX

          O.o Route 69.

        • Jay Holm

          Galaxy S4

        • Jay Holm

          Ooops, double post somehow.

        • Bryck

          Route 8 N from 37 – 39 show H+

        • Jay Holm

          That’s exceptable so long aa it isn’t edge! But yeah, the whole Torrington & Litchfield areas of Rt 8 can definitely use better coverage!

        • Bryck

          84 west from southford to Danbury need some low too.

    • Matt

      Yeah, I’m in Eastern PA too and it’s not looking so good. Still lots of 2G, you’re correct. Here’s to hoping LTE gets lit up in a few more areas before the end of the summer.

      • Baz

        Philly to Allentown has improved significantly. I was able to stream Spotify from Middletown, Delaware continuously for 2.5 hours until northern Lehigh Valley. But from the lehigh Tunnel to Scranton, it’s all 2G. A forgotten world, sadly…

      • KlausWillSeeYouNow

        Either of you in Bradford? Coverage is pretty decent there; 2G, but that’s not bad considering VZW only has EV-DO 3G, Sprint virtually nothing, and AT&T’s glacial HSPA.

        Last I was there, I remember being very satisfied.

  • William Burr Winans

    Does anyone know which T-Mobile devices use 700MHz LTE?

    • Napster87

      most of their new devices are ready. the nexus 5, g2, s4, s5, note 3 and htc one m8 are ready.

      • Jay Holm

        Really?

      • Julio

        No they are not

      • Kidney_Thief

        These devices support Band 17, but not Band 12, so they won’t be able to pick up the new service.

    • Jay Holm

      None, yet. Hopefully some in the next 2-4mo’s, possibly the LG G3, maybe a new edition of the S5. . .

    • Alex Zapata

      If you’re asking about which devices have support for this newly-acquired band 12 spectrum, the answer is none. There are plenty of devices that support band 17 though.

      • Jay Holm

        How would Band 17 be of any use on T-Mobile?

        • Alex Zapata

          I have no idea. I think it’s included because manufacturers usually share SKUs between AT&T and TMO.

        • eanfoso

          well that’s the band that T-Mobile got from at&t, you can check it out yourself with phones like the xperia z1s, when other don’t even have LTE this one has 2 bars of LTE, makes me want one just for the sole purpose of getting better service.

  • Matt

    Since phones use software defined radios, I wonder if it is possible to support 700mhz through a radio firmware update ….

    • FluX

      It also depends on the hardware. I think carriers make their hardware only be accessible on certain bands so the devices that do not support 700Mhz-12 cannot use the new LTE.

  • FluX

    I was wondering… does the 2G to LTE upgrade also add HSPA to the area? I was planning to get an HTC Sensation but it only supports HSPA 14.4 but I would like the high speed data.
    Also I am seeing more signal in my area but I have not been able to test what band it uses. My phone does not support 3G and I know that it is not UMTS/HSPA 1900 from an iPhone.

    • JB45

      I would skip the sensation and see if you can find a HTC Amaze it supports hspa 42 and there are some nice roms on XDA that work with it too

      • Flux who’s too lazy to sign in

        I took a look at that but I didn’t find that many great ROMs. I wanted at least JB but the ones I found were not too stable.
        I’m not really a heavy data user so I think that HSPA will be okay for me.
        Thanks for the help though! :D

  • http://aikenareaprogressive.blogspot.com/ jovan1984

    Will any current phones be able to use the 700 block? I am wondering, because if the answer is no, then I will have to get another Windows Phone.

    • FluX

      I recommend you wait because none support the new 700 right now. Some phones support another 700 band that cannot be used with T-Mobile.
      I wish there were better WP apps because the OS is really nice.

      • http://aikenareaprogressive.blogspot.com/ jovan1984

        How about the unlocked phones that have not broken their street dates as of yet?

        • PinkTacoLVR

          Wow congrats on responding with something that doesn’t even make sense.

        • Kidney_Thief

          It’s pretty straight forward, actually. He’s inquiring about unlocked phones that aren’t sold by T-Mobile US and trying to ascertain whether any of them are compatible with Band 12.

          Stay classy, my friend.

        • PinkTacoLVR

          “…that have not broken their street date as of yet?” Sounded like a bunch of jiberish. You got all that from that? You’re pretty crystal clear, but I think I could have assumed all you did if it wasnt for all that nonsense sounding stuff following his unlocked comment.

          Apologies if my frankness seems less than classy

  • FudgeLuv1952

    Will my T-Mobile SIDEKICK 4G work on this or should I consider upgrading? I’m out of contract so want to use my upgrade in the next 3-6 months, once I save $200 for the down and taxes. Any suggestions?

    • Kidney_Thief

      It definitely will not.

  • besweeet

    Hoping the iPhone 6 will support this. If not, I’ll just sell it for a pretty penny and get the 6s, assuming that’s what it’ll be called.

  • lowlow

    The Htc one m8, Galaxy s5, and the Note 3 are all going to be compatible with the 700mhz spectrum. So stop being negative and saying these aren’t going to be compatible

    • Kidney_Thief

      Okay, considering you’re the expert and all, you tell me where the listing for Band 12 LTE is for all these phones.

      HTC One (M8)
      UMTS:
      850, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz
      FDD LTE:
      700 (band 17), 1700/2100 (band 4) MHz

      Samsung Galaxy S5
      850, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz
      FDD LTE:
      700 (band 17), 850 (band 5), 900 (band 8), 1700/2100 (band 4), 1800 (band 3), 1900 (band 2), 2100 (band 1), 2600 (band 7) MHz

      Samsung Note 3
      UMTS:
      850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz
      FDD LTE:
      700 (band 17), 800 (band 18), 850 (band 5), 900 (band 8), 1700/2100 (band 4), 1800 (band 3), 1900 (band 2) MHz

      • Jared
      • lowlow

        I got fucked getting the Htc One M8 lol, Oh well i can’t wait till the Note 4. Jump program here we go!

    • Alex Zapata

      Cool story bro

  • eanfoso

    hey does anyone know the geographical region of where this is going to take effect? my patience are getting exhausted as I lose service inside my workplace as well as my school, don’t get me wrong I love my LTE once I go outside, but inside, which is where I am most of the time is where the problem is, and being that I only use 1 gigabyte at&t is looking like a much better choice day by day, since friends with at&t have LTE inside buildings while I can’t even get wifi calling to work.

    • Guest

      Let’s see if I can just post the picture here:

    • Herb
    • Perez Brian

      at&t is great but if ull be payin alot more gor internet service etc.. i hope their service is better before that happens i had verizon and i jumped to tmobile last year as soon i saw what they have coming for their network and im locked into a unlimited plan for 70 instead of the 80 they have now

  • FluX

    Will the LTE upgrade add HSPA to the locations with 2G currently or will it just be LTE on top of 2G?

    • Perez Brian

      i hope is just lte 2g ha who uses that anymore

  • Fr0stTr0n

    Now give us some farking coverage in Idaho/Montana/Wyoming/North Dakota already

    • Chad

      I know what you mean, i was in Fargo, ND this past week. I would have a thought a major city like that would have had LTE.