AT&T, T-Mobile File For FCC Approval Of Spectrum Transfer

T-Mobile USA and AT&T have filed a request with the Federal Communications Commission for approval of the $1 billion in wireless spectrum AT&T now owes T-Mobile as part of the break-up free due to the failure of AT&T’s T-Mobile takeover. AT&T promised to turn over the spectrum, along with $3 billion cash if the deal fell through.

“This additional spectrum will help meet the growing demand for wireless broadband services,” said Tom Sugrue, T-Mobile’s senior vice president for government affairs, in an emailed statement. “We hope the FCC will move swiftly to approve the license assignments.”

T-Mobile says it needs the additional spectrum to keep pace with its larger competitors. The companies need permission from the FCC to make the handover of spectrum work according to plan though no deadline was discussed for the transition.

Wall Street Journal

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  • Silk7412

    Wow. This is new! AT$T keeping it’s word?

    • Fortunately, AT&T had no choice in this matter. It might as well been written in stone!

      • Guest

        Feel free to write it in stone, if you would like.

        • thunderduck78

          Who’s to say that if ATT allows Tmobile to have some of ATTs’ spectrum, that ATT and Tmobile make an agreement to “borrow” spectrum, and Att takes the hit for it and charges their customers more? It was like this when boost which is basically Nextel, Sprint/Nextel, Virgin and Sprint/Verizon/Metro PCS. Either way, it’s still all a conglomerate and usage is broadened to the end users “customers”. 

          Who’s to say that ATT and Tmobile don’t have a back office deal using ATT spectrum? Ok, so its part of the “deal” ATT made with them. To what percentage of Tmo customers are using it? Tmo, in the past if you all remember, that it didn’t want to stay in the wireless market and basically “gave up” because of loss of customer base and was constantly losing since 2007 in profits and spectrum? 

          Att has to much to lose with 1 billion in spectrum to Tmobile. To me, something is fishy, and the full facts aren’t fully to light. Remember when Cingular was around, and Att gobbled them up? It was because of the customer base, and profits. Cingular had the best service than any carrier, and more so I bet it was Att that made the service, to see how many people it could conjure up after the fact of being around for a couple years. THINK about it, ATT has been a culprit of wireless service since the beginning and strictly defying the market since day one. Also, ATT itself adopted Cingulars rollver minutes as a way to attract consumers. Who’s to say that Tmobile plans and data wouldn’t again be adopted by ATT, or at least considered in the long run? 

          Att, to me is a severe leech on the consumer market. As long as they keep providing “minimal substandard” service with throttled data and crappy call features, I’ll never go back to them after 2 years of service from the beginning. They not only have the resources to be the best, they are the worst in all aspects. They have the tech to overthrow Verizon, and surpass sprint, boost etc. Either way, they’re cheap sub primal carrier that will never learn from a consumers standpoint. 

    • Jeffreygreen1315

      You’re right this is new…lol!

  • dan

    good. they need to turn over spectrum that is owed to them.

  • Jarrod

    When does the roaming agreement start?

    • Anonymous

      You wouldn’t be asking that question if you read the last part of the article :)

  • Anonymous

    This was T-Mobile’s plan the whole time.

  • Don Kenyon

    This helps explain the recent price increase ATT has given to the customers. Their not going to pay a dime in cash. ATT customers are the ones who will pay for the deal gone bad 

    • Silk7412

      This why I was fighting the takeover HARD! I knew the lies att was telling would only hurt tmobile customers in the long run!

    • Jgaleas2011

      at&t did come out and say that if the deal didnt pass they would be jacking up prices for their customers i cant remember when exactly though

      • JBLmobileG1

        I read that as well. For current customers they keep their current data rates however any possible new customers will have to pay up. Personally anyone who is new and signs up for At&t either is a sucker who doesn’t know much about what’s out there.. or is just plain crazy and likes to pay a premium for something that’s far from it.

        • Jose R

          sucker hmm noo? wen u live in puerto rico like me were verizon doesnt exist at all and t-mobile is crap u dont really have a choice look it up its out there . At&t is number 1 in PR just like verizon is in the states. At&t has the most 3G coverage which litetarally covers the whole island and just introduced LTE last month. I havent had ONE dropped call in the past year. Switched to an LG nitro and im enjoying speeds up to 50 mbps on LTE. Something t-mobile doesnt offer . i had them horrible company half of its network is EDGE only in PR. Yea in the main citys like san juan were t-mobile hspa+ is available speeds were decent from 4-9 mbps but problem is u go out the big citys u drop down to t-mobile edge. which is sloooww , were as at&t u can go anywhere and have a 3G signal. So yea i know some people will probably get mad at me . Because i know that might not be the case with at&t in the states . But over here in PR Its awesome i dont care if im paying 130 a month for 2 LG nitros with grandfathered unlimited data. BECAUSE its worth every penny me and my wife are enjoying our LG nitros which get speeds up to 50 mbps.

    • Ash

      It’s always been like that, ATT’s customers gets the bill…

    • Anonymous

      Their own fault for trying to support the BS

    • Of course AT&T customers are paying for this. I hope their customers become smart enough to realize that AT&T isn’t worth it. That company needs to just disappear!

  • BigMixxx

    What tha hell does this mean….

    Really?  what particular bands of spectrum?

    • probably the 2100 or the 1900

    • J-Hop2o6

      AWS (1700+2100) | HSPA+ Band IV (4)

      • Jcj1

        ATT does not have 1700 band spectrum as none of their phones use it

        • Antoinetrenton

          Att does have 1700/2100 aws bands they are useing it for there LTE network the aws bands that att is giveing t mobile is more 3g/ 4g in more areas where t mobile had no coverage I wish t mobile had 850/1900 pcs bands its much better in doors

  • Deceptivesmiles

    Now, let’s see how this works along wit the tower sale Tmo is plotting to execute.

    Off topic. Wouldn’t it make sense for Tmo to purchase smaller competitors like ATT and Verizon to expand the network?

    • Anonymous

      Wait what? Did you just said that T-mobile should buy smallers AT&T and Verizon to expand their Network? xD!

      • Anonymous

        No he meant T-Mobie should acquire small wireless companies to grow similar to how Verizon and At&t gobble up competitors.

  • Brian Richards

    Being a T-Mo customer I finally get to feel what my ex-wife must have felt. ;) LOL

  • Brian Richards

    What happens if the FCC says hell no? Is there an alternative built-in, or does it end up in court?

  • interesting thoughts

  • Anonymous

    There’s no reason for the FCC to disapprove. The agreement is between At& the and T-Mobile, everything needs to go through FCC to get approved. They can’t just transfer roaming agreement, FCC has to review it. It’s a routine.

    • Anonymous

      U said transfer roaming agreement. You mean transfer spectrum right. 3g roaming agreement is something different and what im more interested in personally.

    • The FCC won’t disapprove at all. AT&T, as well as Verizon, have been hoarding AWS spectrum for years and they have never used it. Now that AT&T is going to transfer those spectrum licenses to T-Mobile USA, this means that the spectrum will finally be put to use instead of just sitting there with AT&T and not putting it to use!

      • Alexanderx1331

        Or DT will just sell it to make some extra cash.

  • Minioninnc

    I will still most likely be on EDGE here. LOL! :)

    • FtKnox TM User

       Hey, 6 months ago I thought the same thing, but just about the time T-Mobile introduced the 10 dollar 200 meg deal, ouila, 3.5G pop up in Central Kentucky around Ft. Knox. My MyTouch 4G reported it as 4G, however not breaking any speed records.  The other day I had a full 4 Bar signal, and got 157 kbps download speed and 687 kbps up speed.  Only wish they could share some of the back haul lines, I think that’s where the biggest bottle neck is.  The Amaze 4G sure is sitting here idling at these speeds.

      • Minioninnc

        Hope so! I am on the lookout.

        • TMO

          Make sure you have a newest sim card in your phone, not some old 2G one.

      • Oreo

        That happened to me as well not to long ago. I was sitting at edge speeds then my phone was giving me 4G. Did a speedtest to confirm it, but the speed where only marginally better. Non the less its better than the edge days.

        • Scarfacemario

          These speeds usually increase I had the same problem I lived in an edge only area then my G2x started saying 4g.. Did a speedtest and got less than 1mbps then 2-3 months later I now get 6-8 mbps consistently im guessing your areas will increase in speed as well

  • Ash

    This is what ATT should’ve done in the 1st place, not trying to take over T-mo.

    • Pira

      Seriously? What would they have to gain by giving tmo spectrum to begin with? -___-

  • Boy03892003

    Use that spectrum to obtain the frequencies that are compatible with the iPhone…. Yea I said it… I really don’t care for the negative responses either…. T-Mobile just get the iPhone….
    Also I will keep stating this until they actually do….

    • tmotech

      Wow. How brave of you.

      That’s like saying “Cake tastes good! I’m gonna keep saying cake tastes good, I don’t care WHO disagrees with me!”

      • Alexanderx1331

        That argument makes no sense whatsoever.

      • Realcool2000

        Theres some cake left on your mouth tmotech, use a napkin….

    • T-MoiPhone

      Yes!! I totally freaking agree! I’ve been using unlocked iPhones with tmobile for too damn long. I want subsidized prices on the best phone with the best network. T-Mo iPhone ftw!! :)

      • Vinnyj

        I think the I-Phone is behind the times, screen too small and specs suck, saying that I will also say T-Mobile must get the I-Phone, many people obviously do not feel like I do. Getting the I-Phone IMO will turn this company around slowly but surely. Just my Opinion.

        • Havoktek

          No it really wouldn’t, it will just be for PR and the numbers would just show a one time flux (we would have to have exclusive launch deal in order to beat the others and bring in new blood). It wouldn’t make new customers but keep old ones, Plans would increase and change in order to compensate for the premium of having an Iphone.

          Isn’t that counter productive is it not?

        • Littlesis1774

          You must not want to T-mobile get to better

      • Havoktek

        That is so silly……..your’re really just cheating yourself… therefore you have no knowledge of self nor the Tech that you would downgrade yourself (network wise) in order to say, I own an Iphone….ON TMO…that just kills your cred I bet.

        No offense David, but….(to quote the 2011 term)…..REALLY? 

    • Scurvymeat

      I am not disagreeing with your point but I am surprised as someone who frequents this site you would continuously make that statement.

      I have yet to see an article stating “tmobile offered iphone, and tmobile responded by passing” Tmo wants the iphone. Apple has yet to make the deal. So the reason your getting rude responses is because its an idiotic post that makes it seem as though you believe Tmobile hates the iphone and are trying to ignore it.

    • Havoktek

      Dang….Ok, one more time……man, people don’t realize that the Iphone practices in breaking carries more than it is helping their bottom line (they produce cyclical revenue as opposed to long term growth and profit). Apple drops huge fees per device(At&T around $200 Sprint about $200 MORE than any other carrier) that the carrier would rather not pay. TMO should just stay put as an alternative to not having it, offering a more broader choice for the other phone manufactures….
      Sick of this whining that we should have the Iphone…….if it’s that serious, jump ship people, you have freedom of choice ya’ know?

      Yeah, I said it too……..

  • Took em long enough! Well approximately a month. Well, well, well, AT&T recently increased their prices and now they make this announcement. Looks like AT&T customers are paying for AT&T’s mistake and failure to acquire T-Mobile USA. Well it’s not as if AT&T wasn’t going to jack up their prices anyways. Even if they would have acquired T-Mobile, we know that they would still have increased their prices sooner or later, someway or another.

    The FCC WILL approve this license transfer with ease. Given the situation that T-Mobile is in, for the greater good of competition, they know they have to give T-Mobile a hand and this is it. And the FCC likes competition so that’s a good thing for T-Mobile right now, bad for AT&T tho. Haha.

    I hope that AT&T customers begin to realize the disgusting company that AT&T truly is, and leave in droves because of this! Now that AT&T isn’t the EXCLUSIVE provider of the iPhone, people can go to another carrier.

  • TMoFan

    at&t finally submits something to the FCC that has a chance of passing. This will help T-Mobile in the short term while it figures out its path to LTE. Hopefully T-Mobile, and DT, take advantage of this window.

  • Ilyas_k15

    Maybe it will help T-Mobile upgrade to LTE sooner, that would be fantastic

    • ogopogo

      LTE is not the holy grail of transmission rates. If you think your battery life is paltry now, just try your phone on an LTE network.

      HSPA+ has some longevity. It also allows T-Mobile to watch the other LTE deployments and learn from them before deploying their own solution.


  • Izzybrexx

    How bout no data caps…..that’ll keep me from leaving

    • Nigahiga

      And go where? Sprint with their 2mbps 3G data?

      • Anonymous

        1mbps, max from what I’ve seen, for their “3g”, 2 mbps for their wimax 4g, if you’re lucky, or is that unlucky?

    • Havoktek

      Do we really….need to go over the data cap issue…….wait, there is none!

    • kahlayoh

      Good Luck with that one! I think we have it better then the other carriers!! 

    • Wheresbrent

      I know right, it sucks to pay for what you use

  • Havoktek

    PAY UP SUCKA!!!!

  • JustSaying

    How is Cincinnati Bell still around!?! If Tmo had enough money, they should acquire them.

    • They are around because the are a landline carrier first.  They don’t make any real money from the wireless side, it’s their coper and fiber that keeps them around.  After all Verizon, ATT, T-Mobile, Sprint all have to use them for much of the local connects in that market.  They are making money from every wireless carrier.

  • Littlesis1774

    Well this happening maybe T-mobile can make a play for iphone 5 because they know they need it to compete

    • iphone is insignificant.  It maybe boost numbers slightly but Android is on top and the majority holder in smart phones so it’s not a condition of “need.”

      • Kirk

        Agree. iPhone at this point is insignificant. The cost to bring iPhone to T-mobile does NOT outweigh the benefit. At this point I would say Apple benefits more from adding T-mobile.

        • Anonymous

          WRONG.  The top reason people defect from TMO is the fact that they don’t have the iPhone.  TMO wants to reduce churn? They have to have the iPhone.  People don’t mind paying a premium for the phone.

        • Asdf

          you’re an idiot. it’s all about droid now. iphone is dead just like steve jobs.

        • Anonymous

          Not only is your comment rude and uncalled for, you’re the idiot if you think any other phone has more fan base than the iphone. People will come back to tmo when they know they can get a cheaper plan with their iphone.

        • iPhones still outsell, if you read Verizon’s 4Q report they added something like 6.3Million new smart phones, 4M of were iPhones.  If you don’t think the iPhone could save TM from their problems, you are dead wrong.

        • Fucktheiphone

          #didyouknow: that Android accounts for approximately 47% of the market I’m Just Sayin’ tho’ I wonder what percentage of the other 53% is actually owned by Apple o_O #teamAndroidforlife…oruntilsomethingbettercomesalong…won’thappen

        • Littlesis1774

          Oh please been saying that about android for years but they still have not beaten the iphone. Tmobile needs it big time

        • Wheresbrent

          Actually you are wrong, it used to be the iPhone, its now related to coverage. Its to bad people don’t check there facts before posting

        • Anonymous

          And where did you get this little fact from? Your @$$? Sorry didnt check there..

  • Mickeyfanleo

    What about the roaming agreement when is that gonna happen?!?

  • Anonymous

    Wasn’t it supposed to be $3 billion in cash and $3 billion in spectrum? Did i miss something?

    • JustSaying

      4 billion= 3 billion in cash 1 billion in spectrum

      • jon

        No it is 6 billion in total. 3 in cash, 1 in specrum, and a long term roaming agreement valued at roughly 2 billion.

  • CRT24

    3 billion in cash and 3 billion in spectrum and long term roaming agreements

  • Ghulamsameer

    Omg! This is great! If what I’ve heard is true, I might have 3G on my iPhone!

    • Antoinetrenton

      No 3g on your on your iPhone its for 1700/2100 aws bands that are T-Mobile phones phones run on for 3g/ 4g att had a lot of aws bands so t mobile gets more city’s where it didn’t have 3g or 4g speeds

  • Kirk

    Can someone clarify. As far as I know At&t does not own AWS spectrum. This mean’s At&t is handing over 1billion worth of spectrum on At&t’s bands? 


    If true then this is interesting. Now T-mobile will own AWS bands and At&t bands. hmmmm

  • ogopogo

    For all of those that want the iPhone – This is what it can do to the carrier:$2b-loss-on-pensions-iphone-costs/

  • haters on the rocks

    Im curious on what T-mobile would be doing with that 1 billion dollar worth of spectrum. Hmmmm
    Lte is the last thing I would think about hspa+ is fast enough for me I get at least 10-12 download and 3 upload.

    • ogopogo

      Agreed. LTE is still in its infancy. Let the other carriers work out the bugs, and then move in to buy the gear at a fraction of the price once things are solid.

    • baopham

      There was speculation on this very same website that Tmo would take the money and the spectrum to launch LTE.

      However I think even with 3 Billion in cash and one billion in spectrum- that won’t be enough to launch LTE.

      Most likely they will continue with what is planned before the merger – they will take the new spectrum (which is all AWS I think) and use it for MIMO/82+ HSPA.  Good throughput but relatively bad latency.

      the 1900mhz PCS is already being refarmed for data (see iphone 3g on tmobile articles) so there is some hope to at least get data on iphone 

      The real question is if customers will have to upgrade their equipment to take advantage of the new spectrum and or AT&T roaming agreement.

  • Anonymous

    Then have TMO sell it at retail $650 like Apple does off contract.  As long as it works with TMO 3G/4G I would be more than happy to shell out that dough.  Then TMO doesn’t have to worry about losing money.  

    • ogopogo

      There are a number of folks out there that would be willing to do that (like yourself). The problem is actually with Apple. Apple determines the chipsets, and supported frequencies, and would probably support T-Mob’s frequency as well – for a cost. A cost of billions (look as far as Sprint).

      Although customers would be willing to shell out the $650 per device, T-Mo would have to shell out $billions for the “privilege” of carrying the iPhone.

      Personally, I would like to see the iPhone at T-Mo, but not at a cost that would put us in a position to not afford upgrading/expanding our coverage.

      • Littlesis1774

        Tmobile is not going to have a choice. If they don’t get the iphone this year then are though

        • Wheresbrent

          right, and you know this because your an industry insider

        • Littlesis1774

          Look at the customers who are leaving

        • Guest

          Look at Sprint who is going to go bankrupt according to them if they don’t sell enough iphones…. doesn’t sound like the best way to lead the business…

      • Anonymous

        Exactly! t-mobile should just announce it has 3g service for the iphone (when its available) and keep their data rates the same. millions will switch because of how cheap the plans are compared to all the other carriers. Just pray crApple doesnt screw them over by blocking t-mo service for the iphone in some way

  • Anonymous

    What about the 2 Billion dollar roaming agreement?  What details do we have about that?  And will customers have to upgrade their devices to take advantage of this?

    • Kha

      Actually it’s $3 Billion.

  • Brianb

    The AWS spectrum IS the Tmobile bands.  AT&T had bought some but never really used it.  Also, Tmobile already has usage of AT&T bands through previous roaming agreements.  This is mostly on the 850mhz and 1900mhz for voice and Edge.

    It’s a big win for Tmobile because it’s all usable now.

  • Verizon’s “LOSS” was mostly due to pensions ” $3.4-billion pension-related charge” and spending on the LTE network.  Yes iPhones do hurt margins, but iPhones and well any smart phone these days, drives higher revenue in the end that pays this off.

  • Lcc1_

    Now if only DT will actually put that $ into TMo

  • Anonymous

    Here’s my prediction of what’s going to happen: T Mobile gets their spectrum, and they ramp up their speeds. Without the takeover looming, Apple, Samsung, etc can move forward with an phone deals ( for Apple, just in time to launch the new iPhone (like they did with Sprint)). LTE first adopters on other carriers will lament battery life, etc while T Mobile has solid speeds and stability. Who’s with me?!

  • Wheresbrent

    LTE is a marketing moniker at this point. Kudos to tmobile for going with HSPA, its still fast, reliable and battery efficient. Hey Verizon, how many times has your LTE stopped working this last year? Tmobile will go with LTE when its ready, for the time being I am more than happy with HSPA

  • i miss tmobile and its aggressively discounted plans w/ great 3G speed and cust service and not to forget the all important UNLIMITED DATA!!. i cut tmobile off in may last year and went to AT&T bcuz of no 3G coverage in my college town in TX. I barely had Edge back then. Now that they do, i regret it now. I have a AT&T on contract which changed to a demo line and Verizon demo line from my job. My experience is AT&T drops calls but the H+ data is fast. Verizon NEVER drops calls but the 3G data is so SLOW. I mostly talk to my gal and my mama so I told myself that im coming back and canceling AT&T after i complete my basic training for the Army. T-Mobile has a strong 4G signal in the town where im going to be stationed at for AIT. :oD 

  • J-Hop2o6

    Tmo will not use MIMO anytime soon. They will use Dual-cell/dual-carrier which means they will use double (2x) spectrum. This newly added 10MHz of AWS from AT&T + refarming of PCS/1900MHz will allow Tmo to use the iPhone w/o even officially carrying it, + 2x HSPA+ speed, and possibly LTE on one or two bands like Tmo will do with HSPA+ (AWS & PCS).

  • Anonymous

    You know what’s HILARIOUS about the spectrum transfer? FCC may deny it.

    Remember how AT&T was bitching about having no spectrum? What if the FCC decides to have a change of heart, and deny it. It wouldn’t be the first time, and it would prevent some later bitching from AT&T demanding they need more spectrum.

    It would be shocking, but not expected.