There’s a lot of focus on the upcoming 600MHz spectrum auction, especially with T-Mobile since Magenta plans to use it to bolster their low-band coverage. Today T-Mo CFO Braxton Carter touched on the auction while speaking at the Deutsche Bank Leveraged Finance Conference.
At the event, Carter talked a bit about T-Mobile’s plan of attack for the auction, saying that T-Mo intends on buying 600MHz licenses that’ll cover the parts of the US that aren’t already under its 700MHz network coverage. T-Mobile also plans to pick up some 600MHz coverage in major metro areas to help bolster any existing 700MHz coverage it might have in those areas.
Carter thinks that this won’t cost T-Mobile more than $1 billion or $1.5 billion, but he added that they could have up to $10 billion to spend if necessary.
Speaking of dropping cash on spectrum, Carter says that T-Mobile plans to continue to buy up 700MHz licenses where it makes sense to do so. T-Mobile will also “surgically” use small cells.
So there’s a peek T-Mobile’s plan of attack for the upcoming 600MHz spectrum and beyond. Low-band spectrum is a big deal for T-Mo because it can reach greater distances and penetrate buildings better than higher band spectrum. Because one of the constant critiques of T-Mo is its coverage in rural areas, it’s no surprise that T-Mobile wants to get more low-band spectrum of the 600MHz and 700MHz varieties. We’ll just have to wait for the auction to take place next year to see exactly what kind of spectrum licenses it can actually acquire.
Carter also talked about T-Mobile being involved in merger and acquisition rumors, which seems to be an ongoing topic with T-Mo. “It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when and with who,” Carter said, adding, “There may ultimately be multiple transactions we can do in the future. We think the strategic opportunity is going to grow for us.”