T-Mobile’s recent 700MHz spectrum purchases detailed in FCC filings

celltower

When T-Mobile announced its Q4 2015 results, it also revealed that it’d acquired some additional 700MHz spectrum. T-Mo said that the airwaves were acquired this month from multiple groups, but those were all of the details that we were given. The good news is that that’s changed thanks to some FCC filings.

Documents posted to the FCC’s website show that Cavalier License Group and Continuum 700 have agreed to sell 700MHz A Block spectrum licenses to T-Mobile. The cities covered by these licenses are sprinkled throughout the US. For example, the Cavalier licenses include cities like State College, Penn.; Corpus Christi, Texas; Spokane, Wash.; and Honolulu, Hawaii. Meanwhile, the the Continuum 700 licenses cover cities like Jacksonville, Fla.; Boise City, Idaho; Columbus, Ohio; and Albuquerque, N.M.

The full list of markets affected looks like this:

Cavalier

  • Albany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y.
  • Syracuse, N.Y.
  • Buffalo-Niagara Falls, N.Y.
  • State College, Penn.
  • Harrisburg-Lebanon-Carlisle, Penn.
  • Staunton, Va.
  • Greensboro-Winston-Salem-High Point, N.C.
  • Fayetteville, N.C.
  • Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, N.C.
  • Columbia, S.C.
  • Augusta, Ga.-Aiken, S.C.
  • Tallahassee, Fla.
  • Albany, Ga.
  • Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson, S.C.-N.C.
  • Lexington, Ky.
  • Toledo, Ohio
  • Louisville, Ky.-Ind.
  • Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas
  • Corpus Christi, Texas
  • McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas
  • Spokane, Wash.-Idaho
  • Honolulu, Hawaii

Continuum 700

  • Richmond-Petersburg, Va.
  • Charleston-North Charleston, S.C.
  • Savannah, Ga.-S.C.
  • Jacksonville, Fla.-Ga.
  • Fort Myers-Cape Coral, Fla.
  • Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla.
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Boise City, Idaho-Ore.
  • Salt Lake City-Ogden, Utah-Idaho
  • Albuquerque, N.M-Ariz.

It’s worth noting that two of the licensed areas have been partitioned, and so not all of the counties in the Greensboro-Winston-Salem-High Point, N.C. and the Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, N.C. are included in T-Mobile’s deal. That excludes Charlotte, Greensboro, and Winston-Salem from this purchase. Below you can check out a map — courtesy of Spectrum Gateway and Reddit user sgteq — showing the area’s covered by T-Mo’s acquisitions in the darkened areas. The map also includes T-Mobile’s spectrum acquisitions from C Spire — which include areas like Birmingham, Ala., and Nashville, Tenn. — which are still pending FCC approval but are being leased to T-Mo so that it can more quickly roll out coverage that utilizes the spectrum.

Given that T-Mobile is only now acquiring these 700MHz spectrum licenses, it’ll take some time to roll out coverage that utilizes them. Still, it’s exciting to see T-Mo acquiring some more 700MHz airwaves and continuing to build out its Extended Range LTE coverage.

Thanks, Bryant and Tin!

Via: Reddit
Sources: FCC (1), (2)

Tags: , , , ,

  • besweeet

    Quite a few big areas with new band 12 spectrum. Will be interesting to see the upgrades happen.

  • SpaceGho5t

    This is awesome! Time to upgrade from my G3.

    • guest

      Unless you have poor signal, B12 is not good without CA.

      • DDLAR

        I’m not sure I agree with you. Of course, 10 MHz of band 12 won’t be as fast as 40MHz AWS. But, it’s enough for most people. T-Mobile will probably treat band 12 as a scarce commodity and only use it when you’re out of range of AWS (they are required to do this in some areas). This will keep band 12 from getting overused and slow. Of course, this means no CA. But, if T-Mobile already has 30 or 40 MHz in AWS or PCS in an area I doubt anyone would notice the improvements from CA?

      • Bryant

        I’m pretty sure T-Mobile is using Carrier Aggregation (CA) with all Band 12 sites… I may be wrong, but it makes sense to do it that way.

  • kev2684

    YAAASS JACKSONVILLE!!!!! Florida will become a T-Mobile State after this acquisition. Most of Florida has full 40 mhz of AWS and now it will be fully covered with Band 12 LTE. Spread magenta all over it.

    • Acdc1a

      T-Mobile coverage in all but SW Florida and some of the Panhandle slaps down the big boys.

  • Dave Slater

    Albany-Schenectady-Troy NY can’t wait! This will be huge for coverage indoors and in more rural areas.

  • Dark enV

    Spartanburg-Greenville SC!!!!!!! Woohoo! This is going to be huge for us in upstate SC, HUGE!

    • Sushimane

      I’m curious how fast it’s gonna be because I use to work in Spartanburg I maxed out at 60mpbs with this new spectrum I curious.

  • Dark enV

    I will say that seeing that Charlotte NC isn’t actually going to be covered is a real bummer for a lot of people I know. Hopefully T-Mobile will be able to buy up the rest of the spectrum soon.

    • DDLAR

      T-Mobile will probably fill in the holes with the 600MHz auction next month. I expect they’ll also try to get, at least, another 10MHz in the areas where they have band 12 spectrum.

    • Jettachris22

      In the buildings downtown, if Im on a lower floor I always lose service.

  • aglee89

    Finally some love in Utah woo woo

    • donnybee

      Agreed! And covering all the freeway corridors too!!

      • trickinit

        You don’t need it on the freeway. It’s the in-building coverage that will see a huge improvement.

        • Matthew Ramsdell

          It really depends on the distance between cell towers. Low frequency radio waves travel farther therefor if the towers were far enough apart to create dead spots between them this would help.
          I had this very experience on I-90 in Massachusetts.

        • trickinit

          You’re absolutely correct. The thing is, most of T-Mobile’s network was designed with the spectrum that was available (higher frequencies) which means that most of the towers are already relatively close together. Adding this low band spectrum to existing towers will improve things all around, but it will have the largest impact on building penetration.

        • DDLAR

          There are many rural and suburban areas where T-Mobile coverage is not good. The band 12 licences can help a lot in these areas.

        • trickinit

          In general, yes. I’m referring only to Utah where coverage is already fairly good.

        • Both penetration and distance will be a boon to us Utah customers. Here in Cedar City, we get decent B2/B4 coverage, but if it weren’t for the 4G LTE CellSpot I’ve been using, I would only get 2 or 3 bars in my house, and I only get 1 bar at work sometimes. In addition, when traveling to St. George, it drops to EDGE in some parts. 700MHz/B12 will improve both of these situations quite well.

        • donnybee

          Since T-Mobile’s network was designed with the spectrum available, I rarely see issues with building penetration. I travel between Ogden and Nephi quite regularly and live in Salt Lake County. I see many more times where lack of a far-reaching network is a greater concern than building penetration in Utah. I’m sure people who only stay in urban areas will say they see more issues with penetration since they’re rarely in areas without coverage, but I know T-Mobile will be focusing more on range and that’s a huge part of the low-band acquisitions.

        • guest

          You can’t travel thru walls. We need better freeway coverage.

        • trickinit

          I agree coverage can be improved all around. But this low band spectrum will have the largest effect on indoor coverage. Radio waves can travel through walls, and the lower frequency waves are better at it. Otherwise you’d never have signal while indoors. It’s rare that I have issues on the freeways along the Wasatch Front.

        • StevenM

          I can confirm that in TX and south LA that interstate coverage is significantly better since B12 has been added. Although coverage was never lost with B2/B4, there were spots with too little signal for the phone to be used. Additionally, most users on the road should be primarily using voice coverage, which B12 is excellent for.

        • donnybee

          I’m sure you’re aware that the airwaves don’t just follow the freeway and only give you coverage when you’re on the road. I’m also sure you’re aware that the majority of Utah’s population resides along these corridors. Band 12 will be a huge improvement for in building coverage, but will be even more beneficial for rural coverage, where high bands don’t have a far reach. Most of Utah is rural and blanketed in EDGE still. Since band 12 has such a long reach it can service these people while also providing great building penetration.

    • Tanner

      I was kinda hoping they would hold out until the Auction. Tmobile has said they plan on supplementing areas they don’t have current low band. They’ll probly have bigger blocks from the auction.

      • CalicoKJ

        The benefit with this is B12 is already a standard, and there are phones out there that support it. The auction is for 600MHz, which (to my understanding) will require more development and phone manufacturers to get on board.

    • CalicoKJ

      Idaho too!

    • Bryant

      I’m heading to St George this weekend from SL. Will see how accurate T-Mobile’s map is and CoverageMap’s. Shows LTE almost the entire 5-hour drive. New rural areas like Bear Lake and Mountain Green/Snow Basin are popping up and I’ve had great speeds in those two areas (~50 mpbs down). Band 12 will only accelerate rural expansion!

      • aglee89

        Just came from Morgan to mesquite Nevada, better than last year but still had edge areas, and Mesquite’s signal is weak any buildings and you have zero service

        • Bryant

          Sweet! Better is all I ask for. Work being done on a tower in Layton this evening! It’s a tower with many antennas so I’m not sure which carrier. Running new wires and putting up new antennas. Hopefully a Tmo upgrade (only 1-5 mbps in east Layton right now)

      • I’m in Cedar City and hoping that B12 launches SOON!

        • Bryant

          Went to school there for a bit :)

    • Bryant

      Also, FCC filings show a TC (Transfer of Custody) and an LN (New Lease) for SLC, both filed in the last two days. A lease probably means T-Mobile wants to deploy quickly!!!

  • Omar Gonzalez

    El Paso Texas is taking too damn long :

  • Anonymouse

    Glad to see the entire Texas Gulf Coast is now going to be covered. Kinda curious though who owns the spectrum in the Schulenberg area. It makes an unsightly hole on the coverage map. I wonder why T-Mo didn’t include that in the purchase.

    • StevenM

      Supposedly, it’s an oil related business. I guess it isn’t out of the question with the lower oil prices they may need the ca$h and sell.

      • Bryant

        Could happen! Looks like Texas Energy Network, LLC owns it now. It could also be Colorado Valley Communications, Inc. One of the two.

  • it’s time to hang tight to the devices you have until the new BW rolls out!

  • Roger Sales

    I totally called it

  • Nick Hammerschmidt

    Ohio is going to be completely covered too!

  • Steven

    Birmingham! Yay, now just get Mobile, the second largest metro in the state, and I’ll be set!

  • The Waz

    great, chicago gets shafted..

    • besweeet

      Band 12 there is owned by Leap, which I believe was acquired by AT&T, so T-Mobile would never have any luck there.

      • Bradley Karas

        Negative!! US Cell deployed LTE on Band 12 in the midwest!

        • besweeet

          I was just going off of Spectrum Dashboard. Search for WQJQ707.

        • Bryant

          Not in Chicago though! Leap, AT&T, Dish, and Verizon are the only owners of 700 MHz in Chicago (any band). Looks like Chicago may have to wait for the 600 MHz auction next month to see what they’ll get down the road. Maybe Dish will sell or team up??

      • Durandal_1707

        The good news is that according to the deal that AT&T made to acquire Leap, they’re supposed to divest the Chicago Band 12 license. They’re sure taking their sweet time on that, though.

        http://www.bna.com/fcc-approves-atts-n17179885878

  • Zach Mauch

    Damn you US Cellular!!! If not for you, my OKC and several other big cities would be covered in beautiful T-Mobile Band 12 LTE. They have done an admirable job of upgrading the area, but it isn’t near as good as it could be. Boo.

    • Bradley Karas

      I know!!! Milwaukee and Chicago is screwed too!!!!!

  • Stefan Naumowicz

    This is great news, I thought the chances of continuum and cavalier selling those licenses any time soon were virtually nonexistent

    • As damn spectrum squatters, both have always been looking for a buyer. Without having to use the spectrum or lose it, since the FCC is more interested in the proceeds than in benefiting the taxpayer, they just sat on it. I wish that they get pennies on the dollar, but it’s unlikely. Expect to see them with these profits at the next 600 MHz auction, with the blessings of the FCC rubbing hands.

      • Stefan Naumowicz

        I’d be interested to know what T-Mobile paid for these licenses vs what cavalier/continuum paid at auction, and whether or not AT&T or VzW were interested in it as well

      • Roger Sales

        They probably got a similar amount to what T-Mobile paid for other licenses. The closer they got to the deadline favors T-Mobile, not them.

  • Jay J. Blanco

    Great… this is good news for me

    • Sushimane

      I know right I’m curious how fast the speeds is going to be. I don’t live in Spartanburg anymore. Currently live in Boston

      • Jay J. Blanco

        Yeah with carrier aggregation speeds are going to be amazing…

        • Jay Holm

          Has T-Mobile even said when they intend to implement Carrier Aggregation? I would really like to know. I live in Houston.

    • Jettachris22

      Its rough visiting my family in fayetteville, having to stand near windows. This should help, but I really wish they would have included my home of Greensboro. Why did we get left out?

      • Jay J. Blanco

        Some other company owns that 700mhz maybe they’ll buyou it soon

  • Reiley Meeks

    I can’t wait for B12 in kannapolis, NC little sad that didn’t do it inside the 485 loop but coverage inside the 485 loop is very strong! The biggest area will be in the albemarle area.

  • TaylorW86

    How did TMO acquire spectrum in the NC Triad and exclude the only cities in that area? That doesn’t make sense. Either the spectrum covers the Triad area or it doesn’t.

    • DDLAR

      They probably couldn’t agree on a price for the cities.

      • emcdonald75

        I thought that spectrum was owned by US Cellular and they didn’t want to sell it. Who owns the spectrum in those markets?

  • Why did C Spire decided to sell it’s band 12A licenses? I’d think that carriers need ever more spectrum…

    • DDLAR

      I had the same question. I suspect they probably needed cash.

    • gadget_hero

      They have been very public about running FTTH to most if not all of Mississippi, no doubt divesting wireless assets outside of MS is a top priority. I know the lions share of MS state/local government use C Spire, so likely they will keep that.

  • emcdonald75

    I just don’t think those are markets C-Spire represents. Remember their focus is the entire state of Mississippi, the Mobile, AL market and the Florida Panhandle. Anything outside of that holds no interest for them. They have sat on the 700MHz spectrum for so long, but I think this year they plan to put it to use. Hopefully they implement VoLTE with their A-block spectrum so we can have a voice and data roaming deal between C-Spire and T-Mobile.

    • Steven

      I used to have C-spire back when it was Cellular South. They always said they wanted to broaden their “home region” to cover Birmingham up to other parts of TN. I was told they purchased 700mhz in those market in prep to expand to those regions, but failed to follow through. Sound like they simply gave up on the financial benefit of owning those markets.

      • emcdonald75

        Yeah, I believe you are right. I had C-Spire/Cellular South before too, and it is great for people that live in MS or for traveling within Mississippi. However, I love the benefits of T-Mobile and I support it very much. I want T-Mobile to succeed, especially now that I see the Uncarrier making a valiant effort to expand coverage. So I have stayed with T-Mobile for years, even when the coverage wasn’t so great in MS’s rural areas, because I want to help it succeed as a wireless carrier by remaining a customer.

      • Roger Sales

        These smaller cellular companies can’t afford to expand….they just don’t have the capital. It probably made sense in 2008 to them and as time went on it became more of a fantasy.

      • gmo8492

        A small carrier like C-spire wouldn’t be able to afford the expansion into those markets, most likely they blew a lot of their capital acquiring 700mhz licenses. The only thing that makes financial sense is to enter into an agreement with T-Mobile to lease their existing towers. It would take hundreds of millions to build a proper network.

        • Steven

          Agreed, they got in over their heads and couldn’t take advantage of the spectrum when they had the chance.

    • Roger Sales

      They also didn’t give up Knoxville, do they have a strong presence there? Edit: and Memphis

    • Raiterio Patterson
  • cotty

    Well once again no one is focusings on east central wisconsin but sprint and US celluar which is why I’m still with Sprint and will stay until these other companies get there acts togehlther have nothing against T-Mobile they only have egde coverage in Oshkoah and no coverage in the boonies wish they were here so I can put my Nexus 6p to good use I really want to buy an unlocked phone but gsm sucks in my area

    • Roger Sales

      There’s no lowband for sale there. You can’t buy something that’s not up for grabs.

    • fentonr

      Yeah, I’m in NorthWest Wisconsin and the coverage is great but there really is nothing east of 53/94. Not a big deal when for only passing through, 2g and roaming are alright for a few hours, but I’m happy that’s the most time I spend there. Wausau in particular is really bad. Wisconsin as a whole though is certainly better than it was a couple of years ago though.

  • Roger Sales

    with this acquisition, the only potential 700A licenses left to buy are in Texas and the Chicago license….and now those sellers are even more likely to cough it up.

  • Joe

    Why does NC seem to always get the shaft. I was so exited but than they had to exclude Charlotte. Well now I guess its pretty much official that we are not getting low band spectrum till 2018…

    • Raiterio Patterson

      Cavalier handed off the spectrum to USCC. I feel your pain I wanted so badly to finally get better coverage where I live…

  • Raiterio Patterson

    Excuse my language but USCC & Cavalier both can eat a dick. I was hoping for low band in Gaston, Mecklenburg, Union county. Now I gotta wait till after the quiet period is over

  • KjFNST

    Yay for Hawaii. Finally. So when I expect these speed bumps

    • Jay Holm

      It’s more about coverage than speed. 700mhz is only 5mhz worth of bandwidth.

    • HawaiiD

      I think you will see a lot better coverage, especially, building penetration than a speed bump with band 12 lte{5mhz up and down} . We already have the 2100/1700{20mhz up and down} wide band deployed. Here near Hawaii Kai speeds are over 100MBs up to 140MB Download.

      • Romdude

        Yeah, some buildings like Party City and some office buildings in Honolulu have some difficulty but normally fixed by walking near the window. Now hopefully I won’t have to, I’m thinking next year at the earliest but then again T-mobile has a good record so far of putting spectrum to work ahead of time.

  • Raiterio Patterson

    Why is Cavalier playing hot potato with the spectrum in North Carolina? It’s not like USCC can do anything with it but squat on it. How much longer must I have to wait/worry about getting a future proof phone???

  • Time for me to get a Band 12 Windows phone! Thanks, Cavalier. Now, T-Mobile will have coverage in Bamberg and Blackville, SC!

  • Jay Holm

    Glad to see some Texas markets on here!

  • TechnoRealz

    Yay – some love finally for the capital of the old south! Now the 2 year wait for it to be deployed….as I sit in my office building downloading this page @ 0.25 Mbps….

  • Yes! I’m in Spokane, and I have the Nexus 6P. I should be all set once it goes active, right? I wonder how long it will be until they are able to activate it.

  • Romdude

    Thank you! I’m glad we’re finally getting 700 mhz in Honolulu, I’ve been ok ever since Voicestream days but this will shut the last of the criticisms in this market at least. I just hope they roll out soon but I’m guessing it is at least a year away.

  • Zachary Lambert

    Damn, was hoping for some rural NE Wisconsin Coverage

  • K. B.

    looks like T-Mobile is making some expansions in WV again into Pocahontas, and Greenbrier Counties within the Staunton, VA/WV 700 Mhz (Cavalier Wireless) Market between now and Q4 2017 in Band 12.