FCC filing reveals further T-Mobile 700MHz transaction covering 6.4M POPs

When T-Mobile purchased the huge lump of A-block spectrum – covering 158M people – from Verizon earlier this year, it was never the company’s plan to only have that and nothing else. After all, T-Mo wants to ensure as many people are covered by the stronger, lower-frequency LTE as possible. Last week it was revealed that the company had agreed to acquire a lump of A-block spectrum covering 1.1 million people. And it’s not about to stop there.

Just to reiterate, T-Mobile is going after these lower frequency airwaves because it needs to have a fast network capable of penetrating buildings better. Its current high-frequency bands are great for speed, as long as your close to a tower and outside. And – although you can still get good coverage indoors – most do notice a drop of a couple of bars once there’s a lump of concrete (or bricks) in between them and a tower.

Screen Shot 2014-08-09 at 21.10.06

Now it turns out, T-Mo is involved in another transaction to buy yet more A-block spectrum from a company named Actel (CenturyLink owned company). This particular collection of spectrum blocks covers around 6.4M POPs in a number of markets across the U.S. I would list all the counties, towns and markets affected, but it would take far too long. Various cities in Florida, Los Angeles, Georgia, Arkansas, California, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Michigan, Colorado, Alabama and Montana will be covered if/when the transaction is complete.  If you’re interested, head on over to the official filing and check the details for yourself. You’ll find the list of counties/cities by hitting the ‘Spectrum Aggregation’ link in the list of  available files.

Thanks Neal (@det_conan_kudo) and Tin (@atomic50).

Source: FCC

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  • t

    “Various cities in Florida, Los Angeles, Georgia, Arkansas, California, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Michigan, Colorado, Alabama and Montana”

    Los Angeles is a city. LA as mentioned in the filings (and the maps) is the state of Louisiana.

  • Chimphappyhour

    The Arkansas and Colorado blocks will be nice. Now if they could just get some in Kansas for the drive to Colorado!

    • monkeybutts

      Kansas is unlikely to happen US Cellular owns most of it, and I assume they want to use it. http://i.imgur.com/RtbQVrL.png Pink is T-mobile Blue is US Cellular.

    • xmiro

      The 700 A block license in Kansas is dominated by US Cellular. T-Mobile’s license starts at Gove county line alittle bit after WaKeeney and goes for about 250 miles to Colorado

  • Willie D

    Los Angeles is hitting the fastest speeds as it is, getting so much spectrum down there, but SF is slowly starting to get better while has a long road ahead and needs a lot more spectrum or at least aggregation techniques with what they have currently, as that 700Mhz A-Block they bought from VZW won’t be used here till C51 clears.

  • vinnyjr

    T-Mobile is turning out blazing data speeds. They are not sitting down on their accomplishments, they are improving every day. Mr Legere and his new team is the reason for all this success. I have never been happier, Thank You Mr Legere and T-Mobile.

  • What.IcantBelieveIt

    Will they ever give us some coverage in super rural Mohave County AZ… we are still on the Edge or are routed to tower partner USA260! :’/

    I understand that we are in a “super rural” area however….

    T-Mobile used to borrow from Cingular (now AT&T) back in the early 2000s. I have wondered if T-Mobile gave them a non-compete agreement in exchange for use of their towers as in this area we don’t even have T-Mobile stores! Closest tower is on the California side of the river but supposedly per T-Mobile rep, there is one borrowed tower in town somewhere, not close to my location of course. I wonder if I can get my T-Mobile devices unlocked and use AT&T prepaid sims since purportedly, AT&T is the only true local 4G. Unlocking may be difficult without a local store…
    I have guardedly retained the grandfathered family WiFi hotspot calling plan as I must have it to boost our signals! With that though, we can only get a bucket of shared 1,000 minutes!
    T-Mo, please get us some 4G at the bare minimum here!!

    • Michael Huang

      WiFi calling is free on all new plans, so feel free to upgrade. You don’t need to stick with that 1000-minute plan. Switch and save some cash.

      • What.IcantBelieveIt

        Thx xmiro and Michael Huang. The 1000 min shared bucket plan I am grandfathered on is the old corporate ‘business family’ plan. It also has unlimited WiFi calling, unlimited text, unlimited data, faxmail, discounted international calling and many more features for $120mo tax, fees, etc included for 3 lines currently. I can go up to 10 lines each add’l line at $6.99mo. I have had corporate customer care as wellnas my corporate rep run all the comparisons and for what I have now, the new plans can’t match in cost especially considering that my location having no 4G, only Edge, I have to have the Tmo WiFi router (that originally came with this calling plan roll out back in 2004?) to boost my signal. Even at that I experience dropped calls by USA260 when the signal is routed to their tower and is particularly concerning while I’m in biz calls! Really need Tmo to get some 4G at min out here, don’t even expect LTE anytime soon!

    • xmiro

      if you’re on the 1000 plan your minutes are now unlimited

  • steveb944

    It covers two cities in Florida, in the middle of nowhere. This seems to be much more rural than the last purchase.

    • monkeybutts

      These were bought from a small investment group of course they are going to be smaller than the ones from Verizon. Carriers don’t need as much spectrum where people don’t live.

    • ChitChatCat

      If you look at that whole license, it was a purchase for Dothan, Alabama that just happens to cover the same CMA. They also get licenses for Quitman, Georgia by chance in that bundle as well.

  • dontsh00tmesanta

    C’mon to cali

    • monkeybutts

      700 MHz A block already covers most of california at least most of the parts people live in. The only really big city they don’t have is San Diego, and the only biggish area they don’t have in Northern California is Redding.

      • hannover

        Doh…what’s holding us back in SD?

        • dontsh00tmesanta

          Prolly it being a border town

        • xmiro


          SD spectrum is owned by an investor co, they might be wanting a lot of money for it or the deal is pending. They also own the Las Vegas license along with Phoenix, Tucson, Norfolk, Macon

        • monkeybutts

          Wrong SD, not South Dakota San Diego.

        • monkeybutts

          AB Licensing Co owns it. They probably want to make a profit on what they invested in it.

      • dontsh00tmesanta

        That’s right

  • Dark enV

    Please get some here in upstate SC!

    • Jay J. Blanco

      In the midlands too. This 5×5mhz lte is performing horribly here.

  • Bryan Pizzuti

    It’s nice that they’re picking these licenses up to shore up rural coverage, but everyone needs to not get too excited. The A block is all 5×5 licenses, much smaller that T-Mobile’s AWS holdings, which means the AWS is still going to be the primary network, with the 700 Mhz acting as a supplement. If they put too much load on a 5×5 LTE band, and turn out slow LTE (like AT&T does on days ending in “y”) then what happens to T-Mobile’s “Data Strong” reputation? I figure they’ll be very careful with their deployments.

    • jarrodpd

      I think if they configure everything right there shouldn’t be an issue, they will probably have the phones set up to connect to the AWS or PCS network before falling back to 700mhz to keep capacity up.

      • Bryan Pizzuti

        Yeah, that’s the way I’d do it. They still need to be careful, I’d hate to see their “Data Strong” reputation get hurt with overloaded 700 MHz cell sites. And this is really their first foray into sub-GHz networks, though at least they have examples of what not to do from AT&T and Verizon.

        • keasycase

          Yea but they study all that… Trust me they have people doing research on all the 700mhz license they r getting. They are also moving people to different bands so they can launch with out a problem

    • I was going to point out the narrow bandwidth in the SMH-L band too. However, T-Mobile has proven to be capable of delivering quite fast speeds in only 5 MHz. A couple of years ago, I saw typically 5 Mbps on 3G and, later, over 10 Mbps on 4G, both cases in my home town, where it was just 5 MHz until a few months ago (now there’s 10 MHz available to LTE and it reaches over 20 Mbps). The Data Strong motto is guaranteed by an efficient backhaul, unlike other carriers.

    • Jay J. Blanco

      These licenses are very rural areas so congestion wouldn’t be a problem. Plus tmobile has nationwide 1900mhz, 2.1Ghz and 1.7Ghz spectrum to supplement the 700mhz

      • Jay Holm

        Truly nationwide?

        • Jay J. Blanco

          Yes the liscenes tmobile owns is available online for anyone to view

    • xmiro

      The licenses are actually 6x6Mhz

      Rural areas won’t be congested. In metro areas the 700Mhz will be used for wall for better wall penetration and to supplement AWS and PCS where it’s not feasible to add towers to improve coverage

  • Qbancelli
  • Jay J. Blanco

    Awesome news. Tmobile is on the move. Soon tmobile network will be larger then Sprint. We’ll have more customers then Sprint. Customers will pour into tmobile stores.

    • enkay1

      T-Mobile’s coverage is actually already larger than Sprint nationally. Mosaik solutions did an overlap map of it in anticipation of the Sprint/T-Mobile merger.

  • The first 700 mHZ spectrum purchased from Verizon Already Covered Most of Michigan, now this second purchase covers almost all the rest!! Good things are happening here, and we already have a Crap ton of AWS and PCS here. Love it.

    • chris

      I am also from Michigan as a METRO PCS/ T MOBILE customer also happy to hear this news but still my County wasn’t on the list and disappointed ill still have no coverage hopefully sometime I will !!!

      • Rydnlow

        If you overlay both this 700mhz purchase with the previous Verizon one there is full CMA coverage for 700mhz in Michigan except part of the UP. Now it just depends where they launch it. Your county may be part of a different CMA. Don’t be sad yet lol!

        Also note there has been quite a bit of native T-mobile HSPA+ (1900) popping up in those areas (Mt Pleasant for one) also. It is limited to 1mb/1mb as of now since backhaul isn’t there but it is a sign that they are trying to get away from roaming up there.

        • ^ what @Rydnlow:disqus said!

        • chris

          well I guess Ill have to wait and see when it happens and hopefully my county well receive coverage since there is no coverage in the central northern part of Michigan Big Rapids, Mt Pleasant looking forward to it soon, of course the south in Grand Rapids has coverage !!!

  • Qbancelli

    Stop deleting the comments you don’t like asshole!

  • chris

    First I thought I was going to be excited Excellent news to hear as a METRO PCS/T Mobile customer from Michigan, but still disappointed still didn’t see my county on the list so that means still won’t have coverage from Ceder Springs the rest of Northern Central Michigan up to Big Rapids, Mt Pleasant and rest of Northern & Upper Michigan hopefully to hear some good news sometime, of course the South already has coverage in Grand Rapids !!!

  • chad

    Trying to be patient here in north Carolina, ready to see some more lte improvements, looks likel they’ve just stopped, ugh! The next towns over east and west of me both have lte, stuck in the middle with out! But it’s great to know it’s coming…hehe

    • xmiro

      they haven’t stopped, upgrades of the 2G network are ongoing everywhere

      • I’m still to see an area near me to be upgraded from 2G…

        • Stefan Naumowicz

          They said the project would be complete by the end of next year, it will happen. It’s only been a few months

        • Jay Holm

          Actually they said it would be complete by the middle of next year.

  • Aurizen

    well at least its not all gonna be A-Block spectrum. maybe something compatible with our iphone users and current phone users.

  • Dan


    FYI -When in the context of states, LA means Louisiana, and when in the context of cities, LA means Los Angeles. I believe the spectrum purchase you mention should refer to Louisiana.

    • derp hurr-durr

      Nah man…

      Half the fun is watching all the folks who apparently failed Geography.

  • Joe Hartley

    The chunk of Michigan will be great to have coverage in. My wife is from that part of michigan and when we go up there we have to roam on AT&T to have actual T-Mobile coverage would be so nice.

    • wazmo

      Grand Traverse FTW

  • taron19119


  • Eric

    Holy crap T-Mobile coverage in Montana?

    • chad

      haha freaking awesome right?

      • Eric

        Yeah! One step closer to full USA coverage!

    • Bryce

      I don’t think that they’ll legitimately build out there. I think that they just picked up the Montana license since that is what came with the rest of the spectrum. They might build protection sites just so they can keep the license there, but whether it’ll turn into a full blow deployment is a super slim chance.

  • sushimane

    tmobile is going crazy on that 700mhz which is good hopefully they have money leftover or on the side for that 600mhz auction. keep it up tmobile

  • Sean

    Various cities in Los Angeles? Am I reading this right?

    • Rod

      Yes. Los Angeles isn’t the only city in LA County/Metro

      • philyew

        That may be so, but the LA refers to Louisiana, not Los Angeles. If you look at the FCC documents, there is no coverage listed for Los Angeles, but several counties in Louisiana are mentioned. They also show clearly on the map.

  • kev2684

    continuum 700 come on legere I believe in you!!! ❤

  • kanakamaoli

    Where could I find information about 700mhz A block in Hawaii? Does T-Mobile own
    This block of spectrum in Hawaii? Or Verizon still?

    • CPPCrispy

      Hawaii A block is owned by Cavalier Wireless.

      Source: http://reboot.fcc.gov/spectrumdashboard

    • CPPCrispy

      Hawaii A block is owned by Cavalier Wireless.

      Source: reboot [dot]fcc [dot] gov/reform/systems/spectrum-dashboard

  • I wonder if part of the strategy is to bundle block A in SMH-L with the yet to be defined 600 MHz band, thus increasing the bandwidth from the current 5 MHz to something more interesting.

    • CPPCrispy

      What is SMH-L? I Google it but found nothing.

      As far as combining the spectrum, I don’t think it will work with out carrier aggregation. The 6 MHz that is closest to the 600 spectrum is for uplink (698 MHz-704 MHz). Downlink is higher up, above E block (728MHz-734MHz). Uplink and downlink A block are not adjacent.

      With that said, if T-Mobile gets most or all 700 A and nation wide 600, thay may use one (700) for VoLTE and the other for data. Thus VoLTE is not affected by a over loaded tower.

      • The 600Mhz band is not defined yet, but, as you can see at goo.gl/chciQj , the proposals place the uplink on the higher frequencies, adjacent to the uplink in band 12. However, you are correct, the in order that the downlink may enjoy more bandwidth, it’d require carrier aggregation with the 600MHz band.

      • enkay1

        VoLTE is already designed to work on congested networks. That is its advantage over OTT services like FaceTime Audio.

        T-Mobile will just aggregate 600 MHz and 700 MHz to bring more capacity while on low-band.

  • Nicopol

    Is this part of the 7 or so million Legare spoke about, or is it on top of that?

  • Fred

    Cam you should do a full map of current 700MHz owned and in progress purchases. I’d be very interested in seeing that.

    • Zummy

      Someone did that, complete with channel 51 interference areas


    • Kidney_Thief

      Magenta is current, and in white are the licenses to be acquired: https://mapsengine [dot] google [dot] com/map/edit?mid=zYsWXH8QR36Q.k_csKbu63eVk

      • nelagster

        Thanks for that! What’s the red circles mean?

        • Kidney_Thief

          They’re the TV stations that are broadcasting on Channel 51, which interferes with the A block spectrum. As far as I know, T-Mobile has been working with broadcasters to clear Channel 51 in order to deploy the spectrum in the affected areas.

      • CPPCrispy

        Does the map include the spectrum from I-700?

        • Kidney_Thief

          I’m pretty certain yeah.

      • Nicopol

        So this is what Legare was talking about when he said they were working on getting 7-8 million more pops covered.

  • Nico

    How likely is it that Tmobile would purchase some B and C licenses as well? Sort of as a keep away from ATT. But also because in super rural areas those are the only licenses leftover. Anyone???

    • monkeybutts

      Theres no reason why they couldn’t buy them if any investment groups, or very small providers haven’t done anything with them yet and don’t plan to by the time they expire. Band 12 supports A, B, and C

    • sushimane

      Can u tell me what different between the blocks spectrum? Or link me to one that can

      • nico

        I guess I’m trying to figure out why tmobile has just focused on 700 mhz a block, where in theory they could buy some a, b and c spectrum in middle America and expand to the Dakotas and Montana with the potential to have some 10 mhz spectra in certain areas.

        • Kidney_Thief

          The only reason I can think of is that the A block would adjoin the highest 600 MHz block, allowing them to have more contiguous spectrum.

        • yeah right

          This would be wise if they can pair the high 600 with low 700 for download

      • The charts at sinauonline{dot}org/?p=3160 are helpful to understand how bands are subdivided into blocks.

  • not bad @ all T-Mobile! I wholeheartedly believe T-Mobile wanted that “purported” SB takeover to fail, so that they would get the breakup fee and buy Spectrum!

    • TechHog

      Yeah… No. They’d have lost subscribers in the process.

    • Oliver Jackson

      Softbank and Sprint backed out of the deal because they knew the uphill battle against the FCC and DOJ was too much so…no breakup fee.Either way TMobile is doing just fine. The 700Mhz spectrum is a welcoming godsend in addition to using WiFi for calls and data inside buildings

      • Joseph

        I Totally agree.

  • carcomptoy

    Arkansas definitely needs this. I was driving through earlier this past week, and it was terrible as T-Mobile only had 2G the whole time save for Little Rock.

    • monkeybutts

      But was there at least 2G everywhere? All that 2G is supposed to be LTE or HSPA+ by this time next year.

      • Ashton3002

        The other day I was in the tmobile store and I overheard another conversation and the woman in the store said to a customer the edge at their home Will be upgraded if it’s a eligible tower. I thought I was hearing wrong but on Facebook I also seen a rep say the same thing..I thought ALL edge towers got LTE

  • Scoop003

    Having just got home from visiting Kalispell, MT and glacier national park, this is much needed news for that area. I hated having almost no signal while out there, and having to roam on AT&T. 50mb of roaming data goes quickly. Lol

    • Nicopol

      Native tmobile coverage in Montana will be sweet. I bet there would be a lot of Verizon and attachments switchers.

      • Jay Holm

        “attachments switchers”?

        • Nico

          Att switchers. Auto correct on my phone.

        • Jay Holm

          Oh, damn auto-correct!

        • taron19119

          Iphone 6 is going to make alot of people switched to t-mobile

      • super7

        my fiance is in kalispell right now and there is 0 coverage unless you head into whitefish. she says verizon is also very bad out there.

  • Cam Fas

    Vegas would be nice too I hope the next iphone has the frequencies

  • Trevnerdio

    All this spectrum now in Montana and they’re just sitting on it. I don’t get it! Why not sell it if you don’t plan on expanding rural coverage? (I know, I know, they’re working on rural coverage, but Montana certainly does not seem like a priority.)

    • taron19119

      All what spectrum

    • ChitChatCat

      Because it’s high band spectrum that isn’t that usable in rural areas?

      • max

        its usable but the site density required would be almost double/triple for the high frequency as compared to the 700 Mhz spectrum

    • DDLAR

      It’s not cost effective for T-Mobile to deploy only high band spectrum in areas that are very sparsely populated. However, a mix of high and low band spectrum might change the calculation.

  • Alex Zapata

    None of this spectrum affects me directly, but this is fantastic news!

    • taron19119

      Its rumored that t-mobile is asking every one with 700mz band 12 to sale it to them so far same is I hope more sale there’s

      • Alex Zapata

        I totally believe that, but LEAP owned most, if not all the 700MHz A block in Chicagoland. If they can convince AT&T to part with it I’d be ecstatic.

        • DDLAR

          I believe (but, I’m not sure) that the FCC required the sale of the Chicago 700MHz A block as part of the AT&T purchase of Leap.

        • Alex Zapata

          If that’s the case then I hope TMO finds a way to acquire it!

  • elchepe

    I like how Los Angeles is its own state

    • envious684

      Lousianna is what I think it means

  • kalel33

    They needed this in Southern Colorado. I remember driving from Pueblo to Colorado Springs and dropping a call 6 times on I-25. Also the coverage is abysmal in the areas where they are trying to get this spectrum. They’ll have to build out towers, because most of those areas in Colorado are roaming or dead areas for T-mobile.

  • Phoenix


    • PHXT-mobile

      i Think Leap/ATT owns the 700 Mhz in phoenix

      • Roger Sales

        Nope, its Cox if I recall.

    • Wil

      AB License Co, LLC has the 700a for Phoenix, as well as several other licenses elsewhere. Hopefully they’ll be the next group T-Mobile will target.

  • BadBatz

    Southern Colorado – great!
    The coverage along US 160 (former 666) is atrocious and along U 285 between Espanola NM and NM/CO state line is practically nonexistent. Moreover T-Mob roaming agreements with Viaero Wireless in SE Colorado, Alamosa for example,are such that nothing really works: one can make a call, incoming call sometimes go through (but end up in voice mail w/o a single ring 50% of the time) and data access is barred (=no connection, not even GPRS/EDGE.) The phone signal meter shows 5 bars, BTW.
    Now, build it up ASAP and stock some compatible phones :-)

    • Wil

      I’m excited for the Cortez-Durango (especially) area as I travel there often. My last trip trough Alamosa was fine, but I blew through my roaming limit within minutes.

  • Zander

    Still no Iowa love. Sad face

  • vincent

    Batman keeps dropping calls from the Batcave We need super hero 700 MHz spectrum.

  • Baxter DeBerry

    Samsung avant is lookin better and better

  • Aaron C

    “as long as your close to a tower” — um, how about “you’re” right there? Sorry to be the grammar police, but someone had to do it.

  • jo

    need it in Ozark alabama

  • Fritz

    So how much of the usa would tmobile have covered in 700Mhz now? think someone can add this map and the older one that tmo accuired (from verizon) together so we can get an idea?