T-Mobile to acquire more 700MHz spectrum in 38 counties in IL, IN and KY

tower tmo 1

A ULS filing with the FCC reveals that T-Mobile is set to acquire more A-block spectrum from an investment company named I-700 A Block, LLC. According to the report, the deal only involves the transfer of spectrum and doesn’t involve any transfer of network, other assets or customers. Presuming the request is accepted by the commission it would cover a a fairly substantial number of counties.

The following counties will be covered with the low-band LTE once the transaction is completed and network is activated:

Illinois – Crawford, Edwards, Lawrence, Massac, Richland, Wabash, Wayne, White.

Indiana – Daviess, Dubois, Gibson, Knox, Martin, Perry, Pike, Posey, Spencer, Vanderburgh, Warrick

Kentucky – Ballard, Caldwell, Calloway, Carlisle, Crittenden, Daviess, Graves, Hancock, Henderson, Hopkins, Livingston, Lyon, McCracken, McLean, Marshall, Muhlenberg, Ohio, Union, Webster.

In each of these counties the rollout will be fairly even, which each getting 12MHz of spectrum, enough for 5+5 LTE in the lower frequency. And it’s important to note that AT&T and Verizon both already own 700MHz spectrum in these markets. AT&T has B-block and D-block, while Verizon owns upper C-block. More importantly, the areas covered will ensure that T-Mobile can reach up to 1.1 million more people with its higher quality LTE network.

You can dig in to the ULS application 0006404031 yourself.

As far as timing goes, we can only guess how long the application goes from ‘pending’ to ‘approved’ but there’s little to suggest that the FCC will reject the transaction. T-Mo claimed during its Q2 earnings call that ongoing transactions should be completely by the first quarter of next year. Once it is officially green-lighted it could take weeks, or months before T-Mo can use it in its networks. But, we know the carrier’s network engineers have been doing an incredible job so far this year. Its Verizon A-block transaction was only signed off in April, and it’s already been activating the lower frequency network.

Thanks to @atomic50 (Tin) and @besweeet (Brian) for pointing us in the right direction.

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  • Louie

    But no Chicago. Fml.

    • Durandal_1707

      T-Mobile’s network works great in Chicago, in my experience.

      • Matthew James

        Unfortunately, not in the Chicago suburbs. They don’t really have a dense cell grid the further out you go.

    • Willie D

      Chicago is covered by the other 700Mhz spectrum they bought, and it is in place, and devices will launch soon if you just hold your damn horses.

      • boehmer365247

        No it’s not. Leap’s shareholders still own the A-block. The B&C blocks are owned my AT&T.

      • qubius

        That is right, Leap owns the 700 MHz A block license in Chicago. T-Mobile has zero low band spectrum in Chicago.

  • Trevnerdio

    I hear that Kentucky is really a dead area. Glad they’re getting on that.

    • cole

      oh my god, it really, really is. I’ve been in KY temporarily for around two months and the service is horrendous… The surrounding states are perfectly fine though.

      • Trevnerdio

        I’m sorry to hear that!

    • Danny Lewis

      If you stay in the larger cities, it is super fast, but the rural areas and interstate corridors go down to Edge or slower. Voice coverage is pretty good though. Lexington was the second group of cities to get T-Mobile LTE in the nation… Even before Louisville.

      I ended up switching to Ma Bell back in December when you could BYOD without a contract to have better coverage. I now pay $125/month… $25 more than T-Mobile, but I get good coverage. I will switch back when coverage improves.

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

      Drakesboro is a dead area, but Woodbine is not.

  • sidekicker89

    So T-Mobile has not acquired the 700Mhz A block spectrum from AT&T that Cricket owned yet? Hope they do that soon.

    • Willie D

      Unlikely since AT&T agreed to retune its network to support 700Mhz A-Block and devices…I see them keeping anything out if the hands of T-Mobile

      • boehmer365247

        It’s not really AT&T’s. It’s owned by a holdings group, I think, and the proceeds from the sale of that license go to Leap’s shareholders. They paid $200M for it from Verizon. It’s obviously not part of T-Mobile’s recent purchases. I think it will eventually be sold to T-Mobile. It’s just a matter of agreeing on price.

      • Nathan usa

        At&t was forced to sell it part of the terms to buy cricket

    • qubius

      AT&T never acquired the 700 MHz A block spectrum in the Leap Wireless deal. Leap Wireless shareholders still own the Chicago 700 MHz A block spectrum . You would think that eventually the Chicago 700 MHz A block spectrum will be sold to T-Mobile and the funds distributed to Leap Wireless shareholders. T-Mobile is pot committed to band 12 and will build-out it’s low band 700 MHz spectrum to cover the top 50 metro markets. T-Mobile is moving quickly to build out it’s LTE network and low band spectrum to give AT&T and Verizon a run for the money.

  • Emory

    T-Mobile already has agreements for 8.7M Pops of A Block acquisitions, but this is only 1,109,357… I wonder where the other 7,590,643 pops are.

    • vrm

      this is a newer acquisition than the 8.7 million one – check the date in the application.

      • taron19119

        Is that 8.7 million the Verizon purchase spectrum thats already being put to use

        • Emory

          The Verizon Purchase covered about 158M Pops. Legere said on the conference call on July 31st, 2014 that they have agreements to acquire an add’l 8.7M pops of A block spectrum licenses.

        • taron19119

          That’s what I thought so where is this 8.7m pops from and where do it covers and when is t-mobile going to say something about the new 700mz spectrum

  • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

    Why are spectrum squatters allowed to keep spectrum that they bought in auction for years without utilizing it? IIRC, TV stations must start broadcast in weeks and cannot go dead in the air for more than a few days or risk losing the license to operate in their channels.

    • Moby

      Different rules for spectrum compared to TV stations. That’s why.

  • rusky

    Wow still no news about Cincinnati lte.

    • monkeybutts

      T-mobile already owns the rights to the 700 MHz A block LTE in Cincinnati, no need to buy it again.

    • boehmer365247

      The real problem in Cinci is the lack of spectrum. T-Mobile only owns 5×5 of AWS, 5×5 & 15×15 of PCS, and the 700 A block. Verizon and AT&T both own A LOT of spectrum in Cinci.

  • Aaron Davis

    It’s an LLC named “I-700 A Block” and it owns a bunch of 700mhz spectrum but doesn’t use any of it?

    That sounds like a textbook example of a holding company created exclusively to hoard spectrum.

    • Danny Lewis

      Seems very suspect!

  • Jay J. Blanco

    Awesome news. Tmobile need a block in SC and NC.

    • Dark enV

      Amen to that Jay!

      • sushimane

        Where u live?

        • Dark enV

          Upstate SC, Greenville-Spartanburg

        • Jay J. Blanco

          I reside in Columbia, SC

        • Andrew Prescott

          I need outside of Lexington going towards Aiken down i20 covered.

        • Jay J. Blanco

          Yes definitely all the way to Atlanta

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

          We also need to cover US 78 from Branchville to Aiken. Bamberg and Windsor are dead areas.

      • sushimane

        Oh u should be good I also live in the upstate close to Greer. I got two bars of LTE good enough for 32 down and 20 upload but in the past couple of month I seen three bars and get around 38 down and 25 upload. I’m waiting for the wide band LTE if Greenville or spartanburg don’t get it I know Massachusetts would have it. T-Mobile has great signal with hspa+ and LTE and with the metropcs its even more robust in 2015.

        • Jay J. Blanco

          Lucky yall. Columbia has 5×5mhz we’ll be lucky to see 27 mbps downloads on a good day.

        • Dark enV

          Oh yeah man I’m fairly close to Greer, I’ve gotten 45 down before, problem for me usually lies outside Spartanburg when I go to my friend’s house in Enoree where there’s no coverage, that and just buildings in general

  • What.IcantBelieveIt

    Will they ever give us some coverage in super rural Mohave County AZ… we are still on the Edge or are routed to tower partner USA260! :’/

    • Danny Lewis

      There’s your answer, “super rural.” I doubt it would be any time soon if at all.

      • What.IcantBelieveIt

        As I suspected is the case; T-Mobile used to borrow from Cingular, now AT&T, back in the early 2000s. I have wondered if T-Mobile gave them a non-compete agmnt in exchange for use of their towers as in this area we don’t even have T-Mobile stores! Closest tower is on the California side of the river but supposedly per T-Mobile rep, there is one borrowed tower in town somewhere, not close to my location of course. I wonder if I can get my T-Mobile devices unlocked and use AT&T prepaid sims since purportedly, AT&T is the only true local 4G. Unlocking may be difficult without a local store…

  • Bryan Pizzuti

    Now if only I could get my hands on a decently powerful Android device with Band 12 support….or if only they could modify my G3 to work with it (which I know they probably can’t).

    • ac21365

      Looking forward to the Galaxy F or whatever they decide to call it that is due out in Sept. The poor Avant isn’t up to the task of replacing the G2 as a daily driver.

      • taron19119

        The galaxy f is a joke

        • ac21365

          An S5, it aint, no arguments there. But it’s about all there is on the horizon from Samsung for band 12 phones til next year.

        • taron19119

          Not at all the note 4 well have band 12

        • ac21365

          You’re right. Part of me still doesn’t really give the note series much thought since they’re too enormous for me to use comfortably.

        • Bryan Pizzuti

          So far that’s all that’s on the horizon for band 12 phones PERIOD. And I prefer LG anyway, TouchWIZ gets on my nerves.

  • Kuma

    I have two questions:
    1) I want to know why we don’t get VoLTE on iPhone 5s? Do you think IOS 8 gonna enable VoLTE on iphone, especially iphone 5 and 5s?
    2) do you think iphone 6 gonna come with band 12 or 700mhz capableity?

    • taron19119

      The iPhone 6 most have band 12 if not the one million new iPhone users t-mobile. Will take form the other carriers will be mad

    • superg05

      #askApple

    • Goat

      I remember reading somewhere that Apple can modify which bands it’s phone’s use via a iOS update. So really I think it will be easy to implement band 12 into the Iphones on T-Mobile.

      What I read can be read here: http://support.t-mobile.com/message/341966#341966 :D

      • Eric

        If this is true…

        :D

  • superg05

    According to some estimates, the cost of building a nationwide wireless
    network over the 700 MHz spectrum is around $2 billion versus a
    nationwide 1900MHz PCS that costs approximately $4 Billion. The costs
    are lower in rural areas, due to less interference issues and wide-open
    spaces. That’s because each tower broadcasting at 700MHz covers twice as
    many square miles. Some estimates say that a single 700 MHz tower can
    cover 20-miles. (#)

    in 2007 operating cost per year may be cheaper now but
    700mhz per tower cost $150,000 Verizon and At&t had it easy and cheap
    1900mhz per tower cost $600,000
    2100-2400 mhz per tower cost $1,500,000 it was not cheap for t-mobile at all

    • Bryan Pizzuti

      Unfortunately, they don’t have enough 700 MHz spectrum to do much with it, they’ve only got 5×5 to work with, plus a guard. They have to be careful of covering too much area (and too many people) with all that possible range.

      • Jay J. Blanco

        They also can launch 1900 hspa while they are at it.

  • REVIGOR

    Has Texas gotten 700MHz?

    • Kidney_Thief

      T-Mobile has licenses that cover the Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston metros.

  • Jay Holm

    Does the 700 A-Block that Tmo aquired from Verizon cover New Haven & Fairfield Counties in Connecticut?

    • Kidney_Thief

      It covers both.

  • Derek Mounce

    I wish Somerset (Pulaski Co.) Ky was getting some of that T-Mobile only has 2G here no 3G or 4GHSPA+ or 4GLTE here and i’m seriously getting annoyed with sprint lol

    • Danny Lewis

      You think they would with being a tourist destination. Bowling Green has LTE… I guess caves trumps lake.

  • JEO

    What about north east OH? Cleveland area there is no building penetration with the current spectrum they have . hopefully they can fix it with 700 MH,

    • Maximus

      The original 700 mh from Verizon includes NE Ohio.

      • JEO

        thnaks

  • gadget_hero

    This is great news, hopefully they can score some A block in Tennessee (I’m in Nashville) I don’t think their is enough AWS for more than 5×5 here.

  • user

    Needs some in Chicago

  • chris

    Good for them but what about Michigan i don’t see that on the list and still the other half of Northern Michigan and upper Michigan still needs coverage, hopefully soon T mobile can get coverage !!!

    • Eric

      T-Mobile already has 700A MHz in Michigan, but they will need to buy three licenses from Actel, LLC and one from U.S. Cellular to cover the rest of Michigan.

      • chris

        Well I hope T Mobile does that soon because its frustrating because the other half of Northern part and upper part of Michigan still lacks coverage the more North you go like ceder springs, big rapids, mt pleasant, Cadillac and the rest of Northern part and Upper part of Michigan you go, since the south half of Michigan like grand rapids already does have coverage looking forward to this soon hopefully !!!

      • chris

        Since I am from Michigan, Have you heard any news lately if T-Mobile if they will buy those three licenses to cover the rest of Michigan !!!

        • Eric

          T-Mobile stated that they will have ubiquitous coverage (from the Un-Carrier 5/6) so that could very well mean buying 700 MHz from every company that owns it.

          So far, I have not heard about any acquisitions from Actel or U.S. Cellular.

        • chris

          Ok thank you

      • chris

        I don’t think US Cellular is in Michigan I see they are in Wisconsin since I check their coverage map on their website?

  • Jay J. Blanco

    I don’t understand why tmobile has 5×5mhz lte in Columbia sc. When they own D, E, F blocks of Aws-1 and 1900mhz C, & A block.

  • William Burr Winans

    Question!! Is T-Mobile planning on using both 700 and 600MHz or do they have other plans for the spectrums?

    • taron19119

      T-mobile does not own 600MHZ spectrum but when they get some they will use them both

      • pbxtech

        Hmm. 600Khz is in the AM band hardly usable for cellphone purposes.

        • donnybee

          You’re talking about Khz. Cellular communication happens in the Mhz range and with AM radio, even short wave broadcasts only ever reach close to 27Mhz, so well below the 600Mhz going up for auction.

        • pbxtech

          Original it was posted as Khz.

          He did edit his post that show Mhz now.

  • pseudoswede

    The EVV and Hendo getting some T-Mo love.

  • Danny Lewis

    OK… A company called I-700 A Block, LLC just happens to have frequency… One of the most precious commodities around… Were they founded by Verizon? Who are they?

    • yeah right

      it seems like a fairly common occurrence with the A block spectrum. There is Continuum wireless as well in the south east.

  • HothTron

    Montana still needs T-Mobile love when I go see family….

    • Roger Sales

      I know it’s not ideal, but keeping a paid off unlocked handset and buying an AT&T prepaid SIM card for those situations should do the trick.

      • HothTron

        No, not ideal at all.

  • Roger Sales

    Can anyone confirm that T-Mobile has purchased the Chicago area license from Cricket? As part of their second quarter results they announced they had an agreement to buy a 700 A Block license covering 8.7M POPs for 50.5 million. On another forum I read that the Chicago license allegedly covers exactly 8.7M POPs and is worth that much. is it just a coincidence/gossip or just a deal that isn’t ready to be announced yet but is done?

    • qubius

      No way that Leap sold the Chicago 700 MHz A block license which covers some 10 million pops or 120 million MHz pops. The license is worth about $4 to $5 per MHz pop or around $500 million.

  • Peter

    Could Tmobile buy some 700 mhz b or c spectrum that ATT doesn’t own yet to complement their holdings? Is there any B or C spectrum left?

  • james

    Come on missouri ralls marion plz