T-Mobile, Verizon Sign Spectrum Exchange Agreement If Cable Deal Passes

A join T-Mobile and Verizon announcement this morning is surprising more than a few of us, as the two companies had previously been at odds, often publicly over the terms of Verizon’s proposed SpectrumCo purchase. Today, T-Mobile is  “submitting applications to the FCC for the purchase and exchange of AWS spectrum licenses in 218 markets.” A deal for  SpectrumCo AWS spectrum, a joint venture of various cable companies across the US was announced by Verizon last year in a $3.6 billion dollar deal. Now, both T-Mobile and Verizon announce this new agreement for a move that T-Mobile says will “improve” its position in 15 of the top 25 markets in the US. When the dust settles, the spectrum in question covers around 60 million people.

T-Mobile will gain spectrum in markets such as Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Detroit, Minneapolis, Seattle, Cleveland, Columbus, Milwaukee, Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham, Greensboro, Memphis, and Rochester. The deal will require regulatory approval however, T-Mobile emphasis it can deploy this spectrum to enhance T-Mobile’s 4G services, including for use with the “company’s network modernization and rollout of LTE services next year.

This deal is a reversal for T-Mobile, as it has been fiercely opposed to Verizon’s pending spectrum deals with SpectrumCo and Leap, almost leading the charge to block these deals before the FCC. Now, T-Mobile appears to show some confidence in these deals going through by dropping their opposition and walking away from the regulatory battle with something to show. Both sides will change spectrum and the amount of cash T-Mobile will give to Verizon for the spectrum is so far, undisclosed.

“This agreement will provide T-Mobile with critical AWS spectrum, enhancing both network capacity and performance and allowing us to meet the growing consumer demand for 4G mobile broadband,” T-Mobile CEO Philipp Humm said in a statement. “This is good for T-Mobile and good for consumers because it will enable T-Mobile to compete even more vigorously with other wireless carriers. We anticipate FCC approval later this summer, in time for us to incorporate this new spectrum into our network modernization and the rollout of LTE services next year.”


Full Press Release:

T-Mobile Signs Spectrum Agreement With Verizon Wireless

T-Mobile to Improve Portfolio of Nationwide Broadband Spectrum

Following Regulatory Approval

Net Gain of Spectrum Will Assist Rollout of LTE in 2013

Bellevue, Wash. — June 25, 2012 — Today, T-Mobile USA, Inc. announced an agreement with Verizon Wireless for the purchase and exchange of certain Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum licenses in 218 markets across the U.S.  The transaction will improve T-Mobile’s spectrum position in 15 of the top 25 markets in the U.S. by providing an opportunity for T-Mobile both to acquire additional AWS spectrum and to realign its existing spectrum holdings.  Following regulatory approval, this spectrum can be promptly deployed to enhance the company’s 4G mobile broadband service, including the rollout of LTE service next year. Some of the spectrum T-Mobile is acquiring in this transaction include licenses that Verizon is purchasing from SpectrumCo, Cox and Leap, and the agreement is contingent on the closing of those transactions and is subject to regulatory approval by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Department of Justice.

“This agreement will provide T-Mobile with critical AWS spectrum, enhancing both network capacity and performance and allowing us to meet the growing consumer demand for 4G mobile broadband,” T-Mobile CEO and President Philipp Hummsaid. “This is good for T-Mobile and good for consumers because it will enable T-Mobile to compete even more vigorously with other wireless carriers. We anticipate FCC approval later this summer, in time for us to incorporate this new spectrum into our network modernization and the rollout of LTE services next year.”

T-Mobile will gain spectrum covering 60 million people — notably in Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; Detroit; Minneapolis; Seattle; Cleveland; Columbus, Ohio; Milwaukee; Charlotte, N.C.; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Greensboro, N.C.; Memphis, Tenn.; and Rochester, N.Y. — in exchange for spectrum covering 22 million people and certain cash consideration. The agreement also includes exchanges in a number of markets in which the companies will swap licenses to create more contiguous blocks of spectrum and re-align spectrum in adjacent markets. These intra-market swaps will enhance T?Mobile’s network performance and data throughput in key locations. This agreement is in addition to T-Mobile’s previously announced $4 billion 4G network evolution plan, which includes modernization of 37,000 cell sites, launching 4G HSPA+ services in the 1900 MHz band and deployment of LTE in 2013.

About T-Mobile USA:

Based in Bellevue, Wash., T-Mobile USA, Inc. is the U.S. wireless operation of Deutsche Telekom AG (OTCQX: DTEGY). By the end of the first quarter of 2012, approximately 129 million mobile customers were served by the mobile communication segments of the Deutsche Telekom group — 33.4 million by T-Mobile USA — all via a common technology platform based on GSM and UMTS and additionally HSPA+ 21/HSPA+ 42. T-Mobile USA’s innovative wireless products and services help empower people to connect to those who matter most. Multiple independent research studies continue to rank T-Mobile USA among the highest in numerous regions throughout the U.S. in wireless customer care and call quality. For more information, please visit http://www.T-Mobile.com. T-Mobile is a federally registered trademark of Deutsche Telekom AG. For further information on Deutsche Telekom, please visit www.telekom.de/investor-relations.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

  • Moneyman

    This is a huge enhancement for their Mobile Broadband and 4G Data network. I know a lot of people here complain about edge speeds when they go certain places and I hope this helps them out. Verizon’s spectrum portfolio gets larger, but it’s a positive factor as well when T-Mobile can enhance it’s network along with them leaving At&t and Sprint out the picture so far. 

  • Wow, really T-Mobile?

    • Dmac

      I bet there was a chance Verizon knew the other spectrum deal would not go through with tmobile opposing it, so if it failed tmobile could try later to buy it at full price, so maybe they flipped and said “hay Verizon, this is not going to go through, but if you sweeten the deal for us, we will not oppose it, and we both win.” ??….just my thoughts, and if this is the case, pretty slick move magenta

      • StonersLane

         Like how you think.

  • omnirep

    For a company who can’t get the iphone. They do some really smart things. First spectrum ,Roaming,and major cash from at&t. And I’ll bet you they got this from Verizon on the cheap to drop their opposition to this deal.

    • Dmac

      That is exactley what I was thinking in my comment below. this should never be looked at in a bad way, T-Mobile is spending money and making things happen, who cares if they got it from one of the evil empires.

    • Erod188

      I’m sure tmo can get the iPhone its gonna be compatible with our network very soon but after years of competition towards the iPhone I think tmo just has too much pride

      • Don’t think it has anything at all to do with Pride.  If we recall just across the pond T-mobile has had the iPhone for sale for quite some time.  I think if they had a choice they’d have it.  It was just a combination of bad timing (at&t deal) and US market structure.  If they had the option the iPhone would be here already.

        • ChadBroChillz

          I honestly think it is price that is stopping tmobile from having the iPhone. We know that apple likes to charge more than other manufacturers. Some reports say as high as 200 dollars more compared to high end android phones. Tmobile is already less inclined to subsidize android phones( look at tmo gs3 price compared to AT&T/sprint/Verizon). And apple is pretty big on keeping the price the same amount all carriers.

          The fact that it will cost ss much as 200 more per device, apple wants the price to be the same across all retailers and they need massive device commitments. It is not in the picture right now. Once tmobile has finished reframing, they should have enough money to review the iPhone deal.

      • Ash

         And don’t want or need to pay the apple tax.

    • in2android

      I’m not so sure that the issue is “can’t”… It looks to be more of a” hasn’t wanted”.

      • omnirep

        Oh they want it but can’t get Apple to give them reasonable targets. They just want too big of commitments.  

        • in2android

          I can say your probably right… Tmo COULD have it, they just WON’T get it at the unreasonable terms of Apple, and who could blame them.

        • davedsone

          What apple did to sprint was nearly criminal.. but it worked, sprint started gaining customers, that that is all they wanted.  But now, strapped for cash and needing to build out their network, they may be in worse shape than Tmo, who look like they are pulling out all the stops here to be competitive and bleeding edge.  

  • JMccovery

    As much as everyone, except the Cable Cos and Verizon, wanted this deal to flounder, there was far too much ‘big’ money involved for it to fail. I wish T-Mo would get more AWS spectrum, especially here in Mobile, AL, as there isn’t a lot of 1700/2100MHz spectrum.

    • I feel you there man. I’m over in the south Baldwin County area and service here is awful.

      • Craiger_B

        Also in the area. It’s very strange to barely be able to get a Twitter stream update when your phone shows full bars on 4G. Sometimes it’s actually quicker on EDGE.

    • Miss_emily_nicole

      Come up to Montgomery. I have 4G.

      • JMccovery

        We have 3G/4G here, its just mostly centered around Mobile and Daphne/Spanish Fort. T-Mobile could always use extra AWS spectrum everywhere. Though, I do wonder if this spectrum swap can hasten the launch of LTE.

  • se7en

    im stuck on edge in south central PA.please have mercy on us.

    • I feel your pain in southern tip of whats consided “northern Virginia” and been on edge for 8 years, every t-mo reps asks y do u use the iPhone? i always say because you don’t give me any speed to use anything else.

      • se7en

         you have a very good point.i have given tmobile 4 years of hope (since i got the g1 when it first came out) to put up at the very LEAST a 3g tower and they have failed to do so.all my friends with verizon brag that they now have 4g lte in the area and rightfully so.

        •  Won’t do you much good.  I finally got “4G” here in central KY, however, my 42 Mbps capable Amaze 4G get’s a blazing 17 Kbps, even when showing 4G 5 bar signal….the T-Mobile back haul network sucks.

        • Lani

          If it makes you feel any better.  In my little town of Los Angeles CA
          with full 4G bars, I get less than 1mbps dl / ul in many parts of town. 
          Wasn’t always like that…

          Someone at Tmobile ordered a BackHoe,
          instead of a BackHaul.


        • davedsone

          I pulled 12 megabits in Lancaster, PA.  It works when its there… just wonder if it’s really there some of the times it says it is…..

        • se7en

           i was recently at park city mall and was getting 4g.considering ive been using edge for the majority of the time the 4g speeds in lancaster felt blazing fast lol

        • Frigadroid

          Really 4g? I wasn’t aware of tmobile 4g anywhere in Ky. Did I miss an announcement? Are you talking about 3g? I know some areas around the Barren & Nolin lakes have no coverage at all there I would be happy just to get G.

    • davedsone

      Me too.  Once you leave Lancaster its a hot mess.  

  • MarcusDW

    T-Mobile pushes around a lot of weight for being the smallest major carrier.  Nice work.

  • terryjohnson16

    I heard that Verizon will be giving more AWS spectrum to T-Mobile than, what Verizon themselves will be acquiring. 

    • ChadBroChillz

      Who told you that lie? Even tmobiles press release says that it will improve spectrum for 60 million people. Verizon is getting dang near nationwide coverage from the spectrumco/cox deal.

      Tmobile probably saw the writing on the wall that it was going to pass and decided to use the little power it had to pull off a huge spectrum swap. Tmobile might not have a huge voice, but it can be very loud when it needs to be. I mean it actually got spectrum from the spectrumco deal, which is all one band. I would assume that Verizon would not want to sell any of that spectrum. It’s like if AT&T got Verizon to sell some of its upper C block spectrum.

      • terryjohnson16


        Meant, T-Mobile will be getting more from Verizon, instead of T-Mobile having to give AWS to Verizon.

  • Jim Jiang

    Im pretty sure the spectrum was for cheap so that Verizion could get the deal through,

    • in2android

      I would have to agree. Tmo was the yapping chihuahua & Verizon threw them a bone to shut em up for this deal, lol. If it helps Tmo, then more power to them. I’m glad to see them not being complacent & making deals to strengthen their position.

  • TMoFan

    This is an attempt to placate the opposition to the deal with SpectrumCo. T-Mobile, being in the position it’s in, likely took the opportunity to strike a deal; but that doesn’t change the fact that the Twin Bells hoard spectrum that other players need.

    I guess it’s all good if it benefits T-Mobile. Would have loved to see the whole deal blow up in Verizon’s face though.

  • Good for us?

  • Gaius_Baltar4

    Hey, anybody who want WiFi Calling support on Windows Phone go here:  http://windowsphone.uservoice.com/forums/101801-feature-suggestions type in ‘T-Mobile WiFi Calling Support’ then ‘like’ all the appropriate threads to get Microsoft’s attention.  Sorry for being of off topic but it’s T-Mobile related.

    Let’s try to get support into the thousands!

  • Mark

    “…in exchange for spectrum covering 22 million people and certain cash consideration.”

    So, which markets are going to be LOSING Tmo coverage?

    • JBLmobileG1

      I really hope Las Vegas isn’t on the list for spectrum exchange considering we aren’t one of Tmobile’s top markets not to mention Verizons coverage here isn’t their strongest which would mean all the more for them to want spectrum here. I always thought Verizon was good here but according to a close friend who works for them and who was down here, Verizons coverage here isn’t the best.

      • BigMixxx

         Totally agree there.  I’m Out of town this week and for some reason TMO coverage has REALLY been sucking wind in LV lately….

        Here in the Memphis…a heck of a lot better…

        • JBLmobileG1

          I noticed a decrease in service as well in the Las Vegas / Henderson area. I have an HTC Amaze and at first I thought it was the new ICS update but I am starting to wonder. Not to mention where I work our Tmobile rep is MIA… heck I don’t think we even have one anymore.

  • Justlee7

    So T-Mobile was joined with other smaller carriers and wireless organizations to stop the spectrum purchase from the cable companies Verizon was working on, so instead makes a deal to aquire some of the spectrum Verizon needed to cast off in order to get the cable deal done…

    A very specific Reel Big Fish song comes to mind…

  • bruce_leer0y

    I approve

  • guest

    i don’t really know much about this stuff
    but its it trying to say t mobile service will be faster?

    • From the sounds of things, it means T-Mobile will have more capacity in those areas, which in turn should mean each subscriber gets faster services, and will mean they can leave “classic 3G/4G” running on those frequencies for longer.

      Curious to know if T-Mobile is trying to get more PCS spectrum given their intention to run 3G on there. They can’t run both 2G and 3G on PCS in areas where they only have a 5MHz license.

      • J-Hop2o6

        Tmo has an average of 20-30MHz of PCS/1900 Nationwide. And 20-30MHz AWS/1700 average nationwide. What Tmo areas only have 5MHz of PCS?

  • MacRat

    If you want Android features, you should get an Android phone.

    • Guest911

      Some of us prefer quality, not android.

      • davedsone

        The first guys answer was stupid, but so is yours.  And I’ve had both WP and Android.  Two differing ideas about what a phone is supposed to do when you interact with it.  iPhone is another idea.  People choose what they like, and that’s a good thing.

  • Hmm, I think Verizon is more concerned with the side deal they have with the cable companies and with continuing to be the number 1 wireless operator than the actual spectrum. Well besides, not wanting a new competitor to enter the wireless market and threatening their business (That’s in addition to DISH who is planning on launching an LTE network) or having T-Mobile gobbling up all that unused cable company AWS spectrum.

    Verizon’s motives are clear…
    1) Prevent new competition.
    2) Eliminate some existent competition with the cable operators.
    3) Continue being the number one wireless operator and being the most expensive carrier while sugar coating their slogan (“The most reliable network”) and fooling people into paying their ridiculous rate plans.

  • GinaDee

    T-Mobile already has nationwide AWS licenses.  In some areas more than others.

    However spectrum or no spectrum this means jack (you know what) if the airwaves never get built out.  There are many areas of the country where T-Mobile holds excess PCS and AWS spectrum but there is either “no service,” or residents are still stuck on GPRS.

    I hope the FCC adds build out requirements for both T-Mobile and Verizon as a condition to this deal.  I firmly believe that every carrier should build out its airwaves or be forced to sell it to someone else who will. 

    This move can be good for T-Mobie in the urban areas it’s planning to bulk up with spectrum.  For you more rural folks sorry this will do nothing to improve your data speeds or coverage. 

    • Actually most of the spectrum auctioned off in the last few auctions does indeed have build out stipulations. Part of the reason why Verizon and AT&T ramped up 700 Mhz deployment is because of those stipulations attached to the 700 Mhz spectrum, that it start being built out by ~2012. But I agree with you, this particular deal is more intended to better utilize AWS spectrum in more urban markets ALONG WITH the network overhaul. Because they are moving half the AWS spectrum to LTE, in some markets they need more AWS spectrum to offer solid LTE. As far as the more rural people are concerned, let’s hope the 1900 Mhz re-farm to HSPA+ helps people with that as I suspect it will.

  • Winski

    These T-Mumble clowns are truly freaky…. One day they think oreo’s are a communist plot to take over the earth, the next day they want all their customers to buy oreo’s…. Schizoid….

    • bakgwailo

       I think you got lost on the internetz…

  • Bigjavar101

    With my HTC Amaze in Redlans CA, I’m Constantly pulling 14.5Mbps – 22Mbps. The fastest I’ve ever seen on my amaze was 27.3Mbps Down and 3.65 Upload. T-mobile is GREAT around my area! No complaints here :)

  • Mloudt

    Say what ever you want to negatively about Verizon but you have to admit there number 1 for a reason. Verizon is smart. They watched their buddy AT&T merger deal fail but they learned from that failed deal what to do differently to help try to close their big deal lol. We all remember how Verizon heavily supported AT&T where opposition came from Sprint, other small regional carriers, cellular unions, and later doj and fcc refusal. AT&T after months of opposition then doj rejection of the deal then after preparing for trial after all this after they realized that it looked like the deal would fail then they finally started throwing out these last minute desperate deals to unload a percentage of t-mobile’s current customers and current spectrum in which it was after Sprint and these other companies said NO that AT&T had no choice but to give up. My point is AT&T waited to late to try to fix all the opposition from the companies that didn’t want the deal to happen. T-mobile was taken the place of Sprint in this deal. Verizon unlike AT&T said I’ve seen this before and not if we can help it lol. So they worked out deals with T-mobile and Leap wireless early that way they can now go to the fcc and doj and say hey their all for this deal they will benefit also and so will consumers on all these networks please stamp the approval now and lets get this done ASAP. Plus remember Verizon was willing to sell all their unused A and B block spectrum from the 07 government auction they bought and never used. But if this deal gets done with the cable companies and leap and t-mobile I don’t think they would have to or would still want to sell it all maybe some not all. Also add the fact that their buddy AT&T I read in an article last week that they would be more than happy to purchase some of Verizon’s 07 unused spectrum and that it could be used for their AT&T 4G LTE network effectively. So unlike AT&T, Verizon has more support early on for their deal and this isn’t a merger or as a big of a deal like the AT&T/T-mobile deal. This deal went from having a 40% chance to a 70% chance of happening we shall see.