Verizon and T-Mobile agree AWS and PCS spectrum swap

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While anyone with any interest in networks and spectrum currently have their eyes fixed on the ongoing AWS-3 FCC auction, T-Mobile and Verizon have asked for the Commission’s blessing on their plans to swap more spectrum. The two carriers want to swap AWS and PCS spectrum in a transaction covering 92 counties, in 41 markets across the U.S.

“As a result of the proposed intra-market and inter-market exchanges, T-Mobile would hold 30 to 102 megahertz of spectrum in total, and Verizon Wireless would hold 52 to 127 megahertz of spectrum in total, post-transaction.”

The public notice published by the FCC notes that the intra-market exchanges are for equal amounts of spectrum, and that neither company would increase its spectrum holdings as a result of the transaction. Both state that the deal would enable them to operate their networks more efficiently. Petitions to deny or are due on on January 5th, 2015, oppositions are due ten days later and replies to those due by January 23rd. So the deal could be complete early next year.

This – of course – isn’t the first time the two companies have been involved in a spectrum transaction together. The most recent, and more notable was T-Mobile’s purchase of VZW’s A-block 700MHZ, which it is currently in the process of rolling out.

Source: FCC
Via: Phonescoop

 

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  • AxelCloris

    If this is going to help improve the LTE coverage across Cincinnati, I’m down with the exchange. Verizon currently owns the 1700/2100 bands in the area and aren’t using them (to my knowledge) for their customers. I would love for those frequencies to wind up in Magenta’s hands.

    • William Kestle

      article says no carrier gains spectrum in any market..meaning that this spectrum swap is to align their spectrum holdings better. should help with expanding 15×15 and 20×20 lte, since spectrum has to be aligned in order to use it. like you cant run 15×15 if you have d block and f block aws. but if you swap your d block for verizons e for example, you suddenly have contiguous spectrum and can deploy wider channels . thats the point of this swap

      • AxelCloris

        If T-Mobile also trades the unused spectrum in the Cincinnati market then that would be true, would it not? T-Mobile owns the 1700/2100 bands around Hamilton county, so a trade like this would allow Magenta to match their spectrum from the neighboring counties.

      • ILikeToRead

        That’s false. Some of the transactions are intra-market, some are inter-market. Read the whole FCC article.

        That means some markets T-Mobile gets more spectrum and some markets Verizon ends up with more spectrum.

      • Adrayven

        No, incorrect. The article doesn’t mention markets at all. It says they are not increasing HOLDINGs of spectrum.. IE they are doing 5Mhz for 5Mhz, even spectrum trades.. Verizon isn’t getting 10Mhz to T-Mobiles 20Mhz..

        Neither will be getting more holdings than they already held spectrum wise.

        That said, they very well could be gaining some market areas or strengthen markets. Otherwise, what would be the point? Spectrum alignment is literally meant to enhance or gain market areas and give up spectrum in areas you don’t need it.. Market gain is the whole point to a trade like this.

    • Nick

      Amen!

  • TMOGUY

    I wonder if there is a summary somewhere of what exactly is getting swapped? I.E. what counties, etc.?

    • Jay Holm

      Yep! That sure would be nice to know!

    • 50atomic

      FCC file 0006470946

  • Jay Holm

    Is any of this newly acquired spectrum in Fairfield County Connecticut???

    • mingkee

      T-Mobile already has D+E+F blocks in tri-state area.

  • Here’s what I glean from the application:

    TMUS to VZW:
    – PCS #E in NH
    – PCS #C in MI
    – PCS #D in ME
    – AWS #A in IL
    – AWS #C in IL

    VZW to TMUS:
    – PCS #F in IN
    – AWS #F in Northeast
    – AWS #F in Great Lakes
    – PCS #F in ME
    – PCS #E in TX
    – PCS #E in NM

    From the gist of it all, I have the impression that, the exchanges are mostly of 10MHz channels, but TMUS seems to come out on top in terms of POPs.

    • Jay Holm

      Oh. Nothing in Ct, booooo! I’m dissapointed! A measly bump up from 15mhz to 20mhz would have been nice.

      • 50atomic

        Litchfield County, CT is getting aligned with the rest of the New England AWS (DEF block) holdings.

        • Jay Holm

          Ok, that’s nice. Any bumps in capacity? Like in New Haven, Waterbury, or Bridgeport? Waterbury for some strange reason only has 5mhz of LTE.

        • 50atomic

          Not anytime soon, unless HSPA+ usage drops faster. They are probably working on provisioning more backhaul so that should help with speeds.

          CT could use more PCS (mostly 20MHz), but luckily has tons of AWS (upwards of 50 MHz). Are you connected to a DAS or in a recently converted EDGE only area in Waterbury?

        • Jay Holm

          I don’t live in Waterbury, my mother does, I live in Bridgeport, I’m just shocked that Waterbury is stuck at 5mhz of LTE. And in Bridgeport, on Boston Ave is also only 5mhz, where I live, and most everywhere else is 15mhz.

        • 50atomic

          My guess is that the connection may be to a DAS node which generally has more limited bandwidth. The flip side is that capacity could be greater because the connection is shared with fewer users.

        • Jay Holm

          50mhz of 1700 AWS? I don’t understand the statement about 50mhz, when I clearly only have 15mhz of LTE.

        • 50atomic

          50 MHz of AWS is the spectrum available. 15 MHz FDD LTE (using 30 MHz of AWS spectrum) is what you see deployed (The other 20 MHz is DC-HSPA+ and CDMA).

        • Jay Holm

          All of what you wrote I get, except the end, CDMA? T-MOBILE is GSM.

        • Kidney_Thief

          From Metro PCS.

        • Nick

          “Only” 15 mhz

        • Jay Holm

          When I see an article that mentions 102 and 127mhz, the first thought that enters my mind is “only 15mhz of that is LTE?!?!?”

        • Nick

          Oh ok. I thought you meant that where you are the 15 MHz wasn’t much, but seeing it compared to this, I see what you mean

      • Bryan Pizzuti

        The AWS F block is an REA sized license, that covers CT if it hasn’t been subdivided too much.

        • Jay Holm

          I don’t have a clue what “REA” means.

        • Bryan Pizzuti

          Well, it either means “Regional Economic Area” or “REAlly REAlly big.” :) Either way, i bet you get the idea, right? Northeast = Northeast USA.

      • mingkee

        Actually, T-Mobile has D+E+F three block covers NE region (total 20+20) including tri-state area.

        • Jay Holm

          20+20? Here in Bridgeport Ct it’s 15+15.

        • Chad Vincent

          15+15 LTE + 5+5 HSPA = 20+20 owned

    • 50atomic

      It is not that intense as you depicted. Check out the FCC file number 0006470946.

    • Laststop311

      Love seeing more and more spectrum coming to cleveland ohio. Seeing as how we are right on lake erie I’ll assume that great lakes spectrum includes us. First we get 700mhz block a spectrum now we get another 5+5 in AWS too and none of the spectrum given away was from cleveland ohio too!

      I am pretty sure though cleveland was already 15 + 15mhz so this should bump it to 20 + 20 according to this

      “Houston, Minneapolis, Cleveland, San Diego, and Buffalo have enough spectrum to support 40MHz LTE with the current spectrum holdings. However, these markets will be limited to 30MHz LTE for some time because T-Mobile needs to support older HSPA+ devices that support only the AWS band. As T-Mobile subscribers adopt newer devices that support PCS and AWS for HSPA+, the necessity for AWS HSPA+ weakens.”

      So cleveland was already running at 15 + 15 with another 5 + 5 available once hspa+ aws can be shut down. So if they just got another 5 + 5 then they should have 20 + 20mhz now with the ability to go 25 + 25 once aws hspa+ can be shut plus the 5 + 5 700mhz lte they have as well.

      • bkerstetter

        Cleveland is only 10×10 right now.

  • I’m not sure that it’s germaine. This file mentions only the spectrum transferred and the resulting total spectrum for VZW. I, on the other hand, tried to understand if each carrier would achieve a resulting wider consolidated spectrum from existing neighboring bands. For example, in the case of the transfer in NH, VZW widens its existing 5+5MHz PCS #F channel with 5+5MHz PCS #E to a total of 10+10MHz. Or am I missing something?

    • 50atomic

      Your notes on spectrum contiguity are in the right direction yes, but your location mentions are too generalized (misleading).

      • They lack precision, but are not misleading. But, if you can describe the convoluted license areas in few words, go right ahead.

  • Bori

    Damn we are jinxed! Being in the Cincinnati market sucks! LOL

    • CalicoKJ

      Imagine how we feel in Idaho ;)

      • Bori

        I take it you are nowhere near Boise? lol.

        • CalicoKJ

          Nope. I know Boise has wideband, and the “major cities” do have LTE, but venture just a few miles away and edge at best. No signal in my house, maybe 1 bar if you are in the right spot with the moon, sun, and stars aligned. :) Glad all phones now have wifi calling.

        • Bori

          LOL.. or the planets are aligned. :-)

    • Jrunner

      Being in Indy isn’t that much better… have gotten to the point of turning off LTE bumping it down to HSPA+ because signal propagation and speed is better in several places I frequent (work, fiance’s apt, downtown). The 5×5 LTE we’re running here in Indy definitely leaves much to be desired on some towers. Although I’d still rather see the investment to get much of the rest of Indiana/rural areas in general off of Edge first and the band 12 network up and running.

      • Bori

        Where in Indy? Indianapolis?

        • Jrunner

          Yes, Indianapolis (work = eastside around washington and shadeland, carmel so-so, but have great coverage/speeds at my apartment on NE side by 56th and 465). Think they’re limited on spectrum as far as going wideband (if anyone knows differently, would love to be corrected). And surrounding areas have started adding LTE. But nothing new yet as of 10 days ago along I-69 between Fishers and Fort Wayne. Still mostly all Edge.

        • Bori

          So how would you classify the Indianapolis metro per say, when it comes to T-mobile’s coverage and speed? I know you all have had lte for while, but we here in Cincinnati just got it roughly 1.5 months ago, so I am wondering if it will get better here with time, cause as of right now, their are many many spots where speeds are much lower than HSPA+. I often keep my phone on HSPA+ to be able to keep a constant good connection.

        • Jrunner

          By comparison, I used to have AT&T on iphone 3GS (3G speeds). So even HSPA+ is quite the improvement for me on my 5c. Coverage is slightly but not significantly worse (as is propagation of signals through buildings). LTE speeds are slower than HSPA+ downtown often due to density (need wideband or tighter grid or something). If near a tower in most places of Marion county, it’s great (have seen as high as 18-25 up, 5-7 down on northeast side), not quite as great in the suburbs (especially northwest side of town). But seems like I often get 1 bar less service on LTE if in between towers (usually 2 bars LTE in solid brick building at work, or 2-4 bars HSPA+). They’ve started upgrading the 2G to LTE now in surrounding areas, such as south of town on I-65 and down I-74 towards Cincy (Shelbyville). Overall, I’d say it’s average. But wondering how it will be improved since they have band 12 signal coming and Indy metro (excluding maybe 30-40 miles to north/northeast) is not in channel 51 area. I figure things can only get much better by the end of Q3 2015. For now, works well for me, and since I’m on low end 1 GB plan and don’t do video, keeping it on HSPA+ works well for me anyway.

        • Jrunner

          Still, I’m impressed how quickly they rolled out the improvements in a little over a year. So, definitely not bashing. I know things take time. And in most cases, speeds are still higher than the broadband plan I pay for with Comcast, lol!

      • John Brown

        At least you have HSPA+ to rollback to. I’m 26 miles east of Cincinnati in rural Clermont County Ohio and we just got upgraded from EDGE to LTE with absolutely ZERO HSPA+ coverage. If the LTE gets overloaded here we’ll be forced back to EDGE because there’s no HSPA+ outside the original 15-20 mile radius of Cincy that’s had it since the beginning. And don’t get me started on how I’m gonna have to buy an expensive new phone to get off of EDGE. I have a ZTE Zinger and its EDGE/HSPA+ only despite being released 2 months ago.

  • D_Wall__

    This can only mean better things.

  • Georgios Renieris

    Does that mean better coverage in non city areas

  • El.

    I wonder if the will be good news for New Mexico, rural areas…