T-Mobile’s 700MHz deals with Actel and I-700 approved by FCC

TMOvsChan51

Back in August, several transactions between T-Mobile and a number of spectrum holders were revealed in public FCC filings. Most of which were incomplete or shown as “pending”. That is until very recently. If you check over at the constantly-updating Google sites page, you’ll notice an update for November 4th showing that T-Mobile has completed two of the purchases. One of which was with Actel (a CenturyLink company) for 700MHz spectrum covering 6.4 million people. Checking back at the original filing, you’ll see that the status has changed from “pending” to “consummated”. As a reminder, this spectrum agreement with Actel will see the following markets covered by T-Mo’s A-block airwaves:

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 16.45.08

As well as the Actel agreement, T-Mobile’s deal with I-700 A Block LLC has been “consumated” a deal which will bring band 12 coverage to a large number of counties, but only just over 1 million PoPs:

  • 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.

With those two combined, that’s 7.5 million people who will be covered, added to the 158 million already accounted for by the Verizon A-block purchase earlier this year. But that’s not all, several other deals across the U.S. are still waiting to be approved by the FCC.

  • Actel – 6.4 million POPs
  • I-700 A Block LLC – 1.1 million POPs
  • McBride Spectrum Partners – 2.91 million POPs
  • Frontier Communications – 1.51 million POPs
  • Thomas Kurian – 623k POPs
  • David Miller – 903k
  • Triad – 2.43 million POPs

It’s also worth keeping in mind that T-Mobile is also expected to be involved in the upcoming major auctions. Between now and 2016 we’re expecting at least 2 major spectrum auctions, as well as the delayed TV broadcast spectrum auction in 2016.

Sources: FCC 1, FCC 2, Google Sites

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  • Verizonthunder

    This is awesome 700mhz will make T-Mobile a brand no longer to undermind.

    • Jay Holm

      Next year T-Mobile really needs to do a big marketing blitz, they really do, cause T-Mobile has a “perception problem”.

      • Chris

        I want them to bring Carly back to be honest. Hot chick on a fast bike indoors in a parking structure. And then Carly would just say “Indoors, we’ve got that covered too. Call me.”

        Boom! 3 more Million adds for the next quarter. lol.

        • chrisstoike

          I totally agree with you I do miss seeing that cute lady on T mobile commercials too !!!

        • You should tweet this to John Legere on Twitter.

      • kalel33

        The “perception” that they have a coverage issue is not perception, it’s factual. It will be interesting if they actually build out their network in the areas they got the 700Mhz spectrum or do like they’ve always done and just have towers in the big cities. If they want to get rid of the perception problem then they need to start building out towers in areas they don’t have coverage, not just improve the towers they already have.

  • Bori

    I am curious about the rumor of Tmobile buying PCS spectrum from Grain Management in the Cincinnati Market. Since the 700MzH can not be deployed till CH 51 is moved, we could really use some more PCS in the meantime.

    • Nick

      That would be awesome. Unfortunately I haven’t heard anything on that so I can’t say anything else

      • Bori

        Yes it would be, I am trying to find out more information on this, but apparently it’s seems more than just a rumor.

  • Eric

    Sprint is screwed.

    • Bori

      I kinda feel sorry for them, all that spectrum but poor management of it all. I’m sure if it were T-Mobile that had all this spectrum they would have been years ahead of Sprint lol.

    • Jay Holm

      Surely their planning for the 600mhz auction.

  • nycplayboy78

    OK Cam thank you for this but my question is WHEN WILL THIS BE UP AND RUNNING??!! All this technical mumbo-jumbo is making my head spin :/

    • Justsomecommentor

      Hit the Google sites link at the bottom and click on the updated map. It tells you where new antennas have been spotted. It will be updated as new sites go on the air.

    • Jay Holm

      Not only up and running, by when will ACTUAL DEVICES other than the mid-range Galaxy Avant be available that actually supports 700mhz Band 12.

      • Bryan Pizzuti

        The Galaxy Note 4 and Xperia Z3 both support Band 12, though it’s not enabled in the firmware yet.

        • Jay Holm

          Well at least that. I have the S4, so I think I’m just going to wait for the S6. I think Samsung makes a better display than LG does.

        • Android_God

          Is that an LG display on the N6? If so I think I see what you mean. The G3 display isn’t all that great compared with the Note 4, bummer.

        • yeah right

          Pretty sure the Nexus 6 does too… launching in one day.

        • Bryan Pizzuti

          It’s supposed to, but like you said, it hasn’t launched yet.

        • dontsh00tmesanta

          Where can I read about that? (not enabled in firmware)

        • Bryan Pizzuti

          HowardForums, XDA, Android Central…or you can get a phone and check the service menu, like I did. :)

        • dontsh00tmesanta

          Care to post a pic?

        • Bryan Pizzuti

          Not particularly, no. :)

        • dontsh00tmesanta

          People should really not spout bs as fact when they cant back it up :D

        • Bryan Pizzuti

          I just don’t feel like obscuring my IMEI. You have heard of Google though, right?

        • dontsh00tmesanta

          Yea i use it to find pics that one right?
          burden of proof is on you not me lol prove it or dont spout bs

        • milanyc

          It’s actually enabled on Note 4, all with Carrier Aggregation, etc.
          http://i.imgur.com/ueRIEw4.jpg

        • wright1bby

          Was that the T-mobile version of the z3 or one of the other versions that didn’t have band 12 enabled?

      • wright1bby

        ZTE ZMAX is a pretty nice cheap mid range phablet that supports Band 12.

        • Jay Holm

          I wasn’t aware of that one supporting Band 12, I didn’t even know T-Mobile carried it!

    • Gsm1900

      Cam doesn’t know shit. He just takes content he reads on the /r/tmobile subreddit. User /u/danrant runs the “Cellular Binder” that he sourced his material from, he calls it Google Sites.

  • JR619

    that great t-mobile is improving with this 700mhz by the way any word on San Diego Ca on finding a 700mhz spectrum?

    • monkeybutts

      I believe that spectrum is owned by Cox. Haven’t heard anything about them selling it yet.

  • kev2684

    continuum 700 come on!

  • Rick Rudge

    Ah, better speeds for the Central Valley of California. Good work, T-Mobile! :-)

    • monkeybutts

      700 doesn’t mean better speeds it means better coverage.

      They are moving Metro PCS off of CDMA from Merced to Bakersfield. The rest of the central valley can benefit greatly from Metros old network being shut off, means more available bandwidth for faster speeds.

  • Alex Zapata

    What a surprise, I’m right smack in the middle of a channel 51 zone -ㅁ-

  • William Burr Winans

    I think T-Mobile’s next step for 700MHz is they will acquire spectrum from Cavalier. If so they will cover the whole state of New York, Pennsylvania, Hawaii. Good bit of South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky. Some of Northern Florida, Southern Texas, and Washington. I really hope this happens it will be a huge accusation!!

    • JP

      What will be they be accused of?

      • William Burr Winans

        My phone was trying to auto correct me sorry about that

    • KingCobra

      I hope this happens as well. Would be nice to get 700 mhz in Charlotte and other parts of the Carolinas.

    • William Burr Winans

      I’m predicting T-Mobile is going to try acquire spectrum from AB Spectrum, Cavalier Wireless, and Continuum 700.

  • Bori

    Cincinnati is right in the middle of the CH51 zone, we lack sufficient AWS, and not enough PCS, definitely we’ve been cursed by the Spectrum Gods LOL.

    • Nick

      At least “WKEF (Dayton, OH) submitted an application to relocate to channel 18.” According to this it usually takes 6-12 months to do this from 9/18.

      • Bori

        Hence my comment. Let’s hope it takes just the minimum. Will be something interesting to follow indeed.

    • Well, T-Mobile is acquiring PCS E from Grain Spectrum IV (who took over Cincinnati Bell Wireless spectrum) for Cincinnati, as well as AWS F and 700MHz A block for Dayton.

      • Bori

        Yes, however the PCS transaction will not be finalized till after April of 2015. and the AWS F is for the Dayton market not Cincinnati. So in the meantime we are squished lol. Damn CBW causing headaches to the very end. Glad to see them gone.

  • VG

    Anybody have any news about WNJN in NJ moving off of Channel 51? Until that happens, T-Mobile can’t use their 700Mhz A block in and around New York City.

    • enkay1

      I heard that they shut off their channel 51 broadcasts because they didn’t need it. Find an antenna TV and see if they are still broadcasting on it.

      • WNJN uses virtual channel 50 to represent UHF channel 51. As part of the transition to digital TV, stations were allocated virtual channel designations that TVs would use in place of RF channels. This allowed for repacking/relocation without affecting user/station experience.

        There’s also nowhere for WNJN to relocate, since the New York DMA (which WNJN broadcasts in) is totally full on VHF and UHF channels.

  • hound dog

    Can anyone plz let me know when this will be implemented.. Thanks in advance

    • Cam Bunton

      Some already has been tested, might have some news on specific areas very soon.

      • enkay1

        Still drafting that post? :P

        • Cam Bunton

          Still not enough evidence to post.. trust me, we’re working on it. :-)

  • Ryan

    The minute I can drive between cities in mid michigan without dropping down to edge I will buy a Z3 and switch back to T-mobile. As of now though, I’ll deal with cricket.

    • Fabian Cortez

      By mid 2015, where there is currently EDGE will be converted to LTE.

      • Ryan

        Awesome news man. Biggest issue will be convincing my family that upgrading their phones will get them better coverage now.

    • chrisstoike

      I totally agree still waiting for coverage in the Central Northern part of Michigan from T mobile !!!

      • chrisstoike

        Still waiting for coverage when you travel North Central part of Michigan from Grand Rapids, like Ceder Springs, Big Rapids, Mt Pleasant and farther North you goo, hopefully soon T Mobile will have coverage!!!

        • Ryan

          Yeah, I traveled up to Grand Haven last year for Coast Guard Weekend. Imagine my disappointment when i literally dropped to either no service or edge. Could barely text, let alone complete a call. I’ve noticed that coverage has gotten a little better, but not enough that I can switch back.

    • Brian Perez

      By next summer I think that shouldnt be a problem I know what u mean when I visit holland and i drive to grand Rapids service can be spotty… But I was told next year summer fall that problem should hopefully be resolved.west Michigan is a good part of the state but tmobile os scarce there thanks to Verizon and att making hard for them to get spectrum, but, that’s changed now. Cricket keeps people throttled between 5mpbs to 10mpbs no matter what ur plan

      • Ryan

        Hopefully it’ll happen soon. I had T-Mobile for about a year before my frequent trips north of Lansing made it a bit too unbearable. As for cricket, I’m pretty sure its actually 4-8mbps (HSDPA+ or LTE). It’s not the best by a long shot, but 3gbs plus unlimited at a throttled 256kbps (enough for Spotify) for 45$ makes it the best value for me. Never fear though, I’ll make the jump back to T-Mobile soon enough!

        • VernonDozier

          I suppose it depends. But… the old Cricket was Sprint service. The new Cricket is AT&T.

          AT&T’s coverage is definitely better. In areas where T-Mobile had one bar, maybe two… AT&T’s Cricket plan had all four bars.

          As for the speed; well, yeah, it’s throttled to like 10MB/s. HOWEVER, on the $55/month plan (after auto-pay discount) you get 5GB of data. For $50 on T-Mobile, you get 2GB. Plus, because it’s AT&T service, all roaming is included (T-Mobile has a roaming cap, especially in rural areas outside major cities.)

          So the Cricket plan has speeds which would support video, and you get basically more than double the data. However, having a Cellular network, which AT&T started building in the 1980s is naturally going to have better coverage than T-Mobile, which started building its network in the 1990s. AT&T usually invests $10B or more per year to build its network; so naturally AT&T’s going to have a stronger signal. Over time, AT&T may have spent $1,000B more on the network than T-Mobile, including maintenance and upgrades. That’s why AT&T is going to be better, and why it’s attracted more customers over time!

          But if you need the speed, T-Mobile might be better. I’m just concerned you may not have a strong signal. When I signed up, the online maps said “Strong Signal” at home. But truth was I couldn’t use it except in the upstairs bathroom, on the throne.. and nowhere else…!

  • sushimane

    oh man tmobile. tmobile are going hard on the 700mhz.

  • Ryan

    Now I just need some love in central Oklahoma!

    • KingCobra

      T-Mobile actually has a pretty strong native footprint in Oklahoma. Once they bring in the Band 2 LTE upgrades you’re service should be pretty impressive.

  • Mr.Radar

    US Cellular owns most of the 700 A block in the midwest. I wonder if T-Mobile will pursue an LTE roaming agreement with them.

    • kalel33

      An LTE roaming agreement is worthless if they just cut off your data if you use 10-50MB of data while roaming.

      • Oms

        The current cut off is because of AT&T high roaming rates. If there were more roaming options so that AT&T’s use was minimal, T-Mobile would be able to allow a higher roaming cap or even make it unlimited (just like Verizon roaming providers such as Sprint and US Cellular).

        • TechnoRealz

          Agreed. If you have deep pockets like ATT&or VZW of course you can buy all the coverage you need.
          People act like it’s TMO’s fault they ‘don’t’ want you to roam.
          It’s usually comes down to money & consumers not wanting to pay ATT& VZW prices.

    • Brian Perez

      I hope tmobile buys them or their airwaves. Better that way I travel frequently coverage can be good but id like it to be consistent and more reliable from city and highways

  • enkay1

    Can you force it to band 12 in the *#2263# ServiceMode?

    • milanyc

      You can force it, but in my market of NYC you will get no service since B12 hasn’t been deployed.

  • William Burr Winans

    Why is T-Mobile trying to acquire spectrum from Triad where T-Mobile doesn’t have service in Alaska?

    • Jay J. Blanco

      to expand there obviously

      • William Burr Winans

        I’m guessing they will either buy or make agreements with other companies to have towers in Alaska IDK

        • Jay J. Blanco

          T-mobile could do a joint venture with alsaka communicationa to get a network built. They already have a roaming agreement with them

  • SonOfACook!

    When these airwaves are sold to Germany, they’ll never return to US ownership.