T-Mobile to acquire 700MHz spectrum in Seattle, Portland markets from Vulcan Wireless

US TEC Wireless Show Subscribers

A filing on the FCC’s site reveals that T-Mobile has applied to purchase yet more 700MHz spectrum. And this time, the North West is getting some love. In a deal with Vulcan Wireless, T-Mo plans to cover many markets in the Seattle, WA and Portland, OR areas with the low band frequencies.

As always, there’s not specific monetary fees mentioned. But we do have a list of the markets where the 700MHz will be rolled out once the deal is given the go-ahead by the Commission:

Untitled 10

There’s also a map of the areas covered by this pending acquisition. It’s very basic, but gives a good outline for what to expect:

TMUS - Seattle-Portland 700MHz

As with any application, it will take a little time before the acquisition is accepted and rubber-stamped by the FCC. And it will join the ever-growing list of transactions for the coveted low-band spectrum.

Tags: , , , ,

  • Greg Morgan

    Awesome, been waiting for this. Anyone know the turn around time from purchase to activation?

    • jay_max

      I’ve been loosely following this…seems about 3-4 months between filing of the application with the FCC until it approves the transfer and the parties consummate the transaction. In cases where there is a Channel 51 issue (Bend, Oregon), it may take TMO as long as a year to get the spectrum cleared and up and running.

      • The channel 51 issue is nowhere near Portland, so it causes no immediate problems for T-Mobile to deploy.

        • jay_max

          I didn’t say it affected Portland. Note my comment says Bend.

        • Oops, sorry. I thought you may have meant the whole license is unusable because of it…

        • jay_max

          No worries. I should have been more clear. Just excited to get this spectrum here in the Pacific Northwest. I like T-Mobile, but very much dislike losing my service when I go indoors in an area that supposedly has the strongest LTE signal (according to their maps).

        • yankeesusa

          You got that right. Ever since I got T-Mobile in November of last year I’ve seen huge improvements. With lte my phone is usually the fastest from all my friends. Including Verizon. It’s only inside buildings I have issues. Even then hspa+ is still pretty fast. Can’t wait for more improvements.

        • WWedlock

          Any one know what this means for Seattle? There is a Channel 51, but it listed as digital channel 50(UHF) and Virtual 51 (PSIP)

  • jay_max

    Hooray!!! Much needed up here in Seattle, with all of the tall buildings and hills.

  • Justsomecommentor

    Thank you, Mr. Spock.

  • jay_max

    It also appears the eastern North Dakota transaction (Grand Forks, Fargo) has been approved and consummated, as the FCC lists TMO as the licensee of those areas.

    • William Burr Winans

      What does the FCC say about Continuum 700?

    • Jay J. Blanco

      That was fast

  • k

    OH HELL YEAH! FINALLY!!….Thanks paul allen for finally coming to your senses. And there you go. I bet all the dominoes will fall now in the 700mhz A block for tmobile.

    • Jay Holm

      It seems like some people are still waiting for 700nhz in San Diego & Las Vegas.

      • k

        I looked at the map of who owns san diego and las vegas. http://specmap.sequence-omega.net/ I can’t recall, but its I think its owned by Cox Cable???

      • pda96

        Myself included. I would love to have TMO light up the I-15 corridor from Rancho Cucamonga to Vegas with 4G LTE !! Come on, TMO !!!

        • Matt Pankey

          Rancho Cucamonga!!

      • Cam Fas

        Indeed lasvegas Henderson and searchlight with 700mhz would be nice and any lte in searchlight would be nice

  • k

    Btw Cam, I thought there was not supposed to be further deals during the auction?

  • k

    Now lets get some VoLTE here in Portland! Sorry to all the other folks out there, I’ve been following TMUS deployment since I switched from Big Red in Jan. I’ve been a fan of what the Tmobile has been doing ever since, but have been reluctant to push all my friends to it since their coverage here in Portland, while good, drops to nothing when you get outside the city. Now that they have the spectrum with that long distance propagation, I can tell you, i’ll definitely be the best TMUS salesperson that doesn’t work for the company.
    Hey Neville, get us some VoLTE and WiFi call transfer love here in stumptown!

    • Nick

      Volte & WiFi calling is already nationwide. Your phone may not support it if you’re not getting it.

    • Mario

      VoLTE and WiFi Calling is already active what phone do you have as it may not support it

      • Brian Perez

        Do you know if the lg g3 support it

        • yankeesusa

          The g3 supports it but it hasn’t been updated to activate it. I think the s5, note 3, note 4 and one other phone have it active. I think the g flex just got it activated also.

  • William Burr Winans

    I been hearing Antennas have been spotted at Jacksonville, Florida and Continuum 700 owns spectrum in that area.
    Does that mean T-Mobile has bought Continuum 700 as well?

    • kev2684


    • RiskyBidThis

      If it’s true that antennas are there then yes, but that has only been reported by one forum poster and hasn’t been verified by anyone else as far as I’m aware.

  • Mike

    And Paul Allen just made a few more billions….

    • k

      He needs to put it back into the blazers for next year. LA’s contract is up and he wants max dollars.

  • J-Hop2o6

    I had a feeling T-Mo would get this done sooner than later in my city of Seattle. Good job T-Mo! Already getting great speeds here (50+/30+). Better penetration for these brick/concrete buildings (like my job) will put T-Mo at the top.

    • scuttlefield

      I feel the same way. Great speed, but tough going in buildings like my job in downtown Portland. PNW unity…at least until the next Timbers-Sounders game!

      • J-Hop2o6

        PNW Unity, but are you cheering for us in the playoffs? ;-)

        But yea, most of the places I go are fine with LTE. But for whatever reason, LTE signal is a bit weaker than HSPA+ over the SAME band (AWS). So yea, thick building kills LTE first, then HSPA+. Can’t wait for some low band deployment.

        • scuttlefield

          Root for that Sounders? Lets not push it! Haha!

          And yeah, I experience the same thing. LTE is the first to suffer inside buildings.

  • rosedawg

    I hope this brings coverage to Scuttlebutt in Everett, WA. Its like the lone dead spot I get.

    • HangmanSwingset

      There are several in the parts of Everett I frequent that are “dead”. Namely the area up on Evergreen where Value Village and Nick’s Jr. is. I get several bars of 4G signal, but slower than EDGE speeds.

      • William Kestle

        For some reason that area is like the only spot that doesn’t have good speeds. Yet at mY home along 112th or my gf house off of casino I get 100mbps, yes triple digits. I don’t think its a coverage issue, its a cell site with horrible network ( backhaul ) connection

  • 007

    Speculating: I wonder if US Cellular and Tmobile work out a deal to trade spectrum for the rest of 700mhz A in Eastern Washington/NorCal/Eastern Oregon. Those territories are the biggest areas outside of US Cellular’s Midwest base, but cover very little in the way of pops. On the other hand, Tmo, if it continues to buy up 700mhz, they could buy something that US Cellular would want in a smaller geographic area near their base. Wouldn’t a carrier want to try to create as much contiguous spectrum over an area as possible?

    • RiskyBidThis

      US Cellular has built out a good portion of the area covered by the two licenses in NorCal and Western Oregan so that seems unlikely. Same goes for central Washington.

      Perhaps interestingly I don’t see any indication on the FCC’s site that they’ve built out coverage for the license in NE Oregan, so maybe there?

    • Shlomo Boukai

      Or they could merge and combine their networks.

  • JV

    Awesome! I was hoping that this would happen.

  • Durandal_1707

    Acquiring that spectrum was… logical.

  • JR619

    that great any words on Spokane Washington & San Diego, CA

    • RiskyBidThis

      Both are owned by Cavalier. If there has been an agreement made to assign them over to T-Mobile then it hasn’t shown up on the FCC’s license search yet.

      • k

        I think there is contiuum, cavalier, cox that hv lots of spectrum that are idle. I could see big deals coming in the next few months that include spokane

  • Dang, I’m on the east side of Washington. I’m hoping they get some of this spectrum over here next.

  • Joe

    I am so excited! Hopefully this will bring better coverage to rural areas in Washington and Oregon. I live right outside of Seattle and the coverage is okay but it is definitely lacking when you leave major areas.


    This is super cool for Seattle. Too bad the San Juan Islands are excluded, interesting that Vulcan had already sold that to Orcas Power and Light and the FCC actually approved it. We could use some more coverage up there.
    Everywhere else, this is going to be awesome.. Now we’ll just have to see how long it takes to deploy it!! Could be like.. forever!!

    • Jay Holm

      More than likely it will be deployed by the middle of next year is my guess. You’ll have to get a smartphone that supports 700 Band 12 anyway, limited choice right now.

      • Mike Palomba

        I think it could be deployed as early as February. and there are some nice high end devices that support 700mhz as of now and there will be more to come

        • k

          February quite early. They still need formal approval. I could see may or jube next year.

        • Fabian Cortez

          Hey jube

  • Aaron

    Go go Salem Oregon!

  • Kogashuko

    Hopefully they pickup spectrum from Continuum 700a Spectrum Horder LLC soon. I have a feeling that they want to be unreasonable with the sale price and Tmobile will wait until they almost loose it and are more willing to deal!

  • Jill Morris

    Anyone know of a Windows Phone that works with 700MHz??

    • Alex Zapata

      I’d like to see one as well!

    • Good question!

  • The UHF channels are what people are concerned about. UHF channels are where the station actually exists in the the RF space. Virtual channels are used to ensure your receiver (like your TV) makes the station available for viewing at that particular channel number.

    • WWedlock

      Thanks for the info.

  • Chrstttp9

    I have a feeling T-mo going to buy for AB license co. Vegas is’nt my native place…but the LTE is kicking butt. My next check I’m getting a phone that supports band 12…it’ on At&t and Verizon!!!

  • joe

    Anyone know what happened to the upper 700 mhz a spectrum that is adjacent to Verizon ‘ s spectrum? It’s a 1 by 1 mhz license

    • Chrsttt9

      Verizon in an article stated that it would be used for it voice or is that a guard band?

    • Chrsttt9

      That’s volte.

  • Chrstttp9

    If your referring to the d-block it’s suppose to be used for Nationwide public service LTE system for first responders): (e.g. police department, firedepartment, etc.) also during the auction no one bidded on it so FCC decided to add the channel scheme to the already 5+5 MHz no it’s 10 × 10 MHz Nationwide block.

    • joe

      Not the d block, the a block it’s a 2 mhz band adjacent to Verizon and first responders.

  • Thomas

    UGH FINALLY!!! I’ve been waiting for this announcement for a while! The speed outdoors is great in Portland but indoors is next to nothing.

  • emcdonald75

    I want to ask a question about Band 2 LTE. I had a chance to experience Band 2 LTE with T-Mobile when I visited my parents in a rural area. It took longer to connect calls when I was there, but the Internet speeds were significantly better than EDGE, but slower than Band 4 LTE which is deployed where I live now. Why does it take so long for calls to connect compared to my Band 4 connections? Is it because older antennas are used for the Band 2 LTE deployment or because of the different characteristics of the 1900MHz spectrum band? The voice calls didn’t sound bad just the calls took longer to connect and some times the phone wouldn’t dial though the person would just appear on the other end of the call. Strange.

    • Chrstttp9

      Band 2 vs band 4 the speed has to do w/ tower setup and backhaul TMo is replacing old equipment and maybe using the same antenna w/ different set up, as for voice it could be roaming off another carrier plus it’s circuit switch which is still reliable, but because LTE is IP data packet and backward compatible the connect would or should I say be seemless, but again the eVRCC is not in place until Ericcson or Nokia gets yo your area and installs the equipment. I hope that’s a good enough answer if not can someone w/ a little more information elaborate?

      • emcdonald75

        I thought maybe the panels were too old. Hopefully they receive an upgrade a year or two down the line. Do you think T-Mobile will expand coverage using tower colocation? There are some areas in Mississippi that need coverage from T-Mobile and not roaming on AT&T because the sound is awful and the data stops working after 50MB, which is a hiccup of usage in the data world. Also, there are some no service areas in which AT&T roaming would be great.

        • chrstttp9

          Oh yeah!!! they should rather than milk out money it’s saving them money plus it’s a easier way to expand…than to build out own towers my opinion.

  • Scoop003

    Maybe I’ll finally have coverage in central Oregon on my trips from Boise to Eugene. Yay!!!

  • jj

    How long then for the spectrum to actually go live and be available for Tmo customers in the above mentioned areas?

  • 1ceTr0n

    Yakima area REALLY needs it the most, there is essentially no data coverage in that valley whatsoever, even with full bars on 4G.

    • xjtsx

      i am from yakima and am waiting to switch to tmobile once they get their shit together. i guess ill be choosing verizon in april when my sprint contract is up. how terrible is the speeds in the west valley areas? (near wv jr high, and ahtanum and 74th)? Also how is the reception and 3g from yakima to seattle, and in the lower valley? is it as bad as sensorly shows?

  • RJKMadison

    Does anyone know what TMO means when they say “700Mhz LTE”? is that always Band 12? Or is it sometimes Band 13 or 17? I ask because most of the unlock phones (like Xperia Z3 compact) support 13/17, but few support 12.

    • Jaffar

      Yes, Indeed they have to use Band 12 for LTE all the time, compare universally band for 2,3,4G’s [850-900-1800-1900]-[1700-2100], It depends on the area whether they would like to use other band as well such as band 4,13,17, etc. For T-Mobile it’s a big deal to them [Band 12] because they has the low spectrum now. Verizon and AT&T has enough Low spectrum.

  • 1ceTr0n

    Yep, its completely useless, you can’t even load a webpage. Switch to Verizon or AT@T cause T-MObile doens’t have squat in yakima

    • xDayan

      When ever I drive through yakima (about once a month) I never has an issues with data…

  • ericdabbs

    Is the Vulcan spectrum going to be added to the 700 MHz LTE map coverage as pending?