AT&T and T-Mobile agree to spectrum swap

2013-12-06-10-31-08-cell tower

Often when we mention AT&T and T-Mobile together, it’s because one company is throwing shade at another, like when AT&T recently said T-Mo was offering Wi-Fi calling in defiance of FCC rules. Today, though, I get to report on the two carriers actually coming to an agreement.

FCC filings show that AT&T and T-Mobile have agreed to swap PCS and AWS-1 spectrum licenses scattered throughout the US. These swaps, the two carriers say, are “intended to enable more efficient operations by creating larger blocks of contiguous spectrum and aligning spectrum blocks across markets.” Because the blocks are being swapped in identical amounts, the total spectrum holdings of the two carriers will be unchanged if the deal is approved.

There are a number of different markets in which AT&T and T-Mobile intend to swap spectrum. Some of the major markets include Phoenix, Ariz.; Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.; Sacramento, Calif.; Boston, Mass.; Tulsa, Okla.; Hartford, Conn.; and Austin and San Antonio, Texas.

It’s worth mentioning that the FCC will need to approve AT&T and T-Mobile’s swap before any licenses are actually exchanged. If the deal is given the green light, though, it’ll be big for both carriers. The swap will even enable T-Mobile to offer 15+15 and 20+20 Wideband LTE in some markets. Wideband LTE brings with it more capacity and faster speeds, and T-Mobile previously said that it hopes to offer that coverage in more than 250 markets by the end of 2015. This deal with AT&T will be a nice boost toward reaching that goal.

To check out the FCC filings for yourself, click here and here.

Via: Reddit, Fierce Wireless

Sources: FCC (1), (2)

Tags: , , ,

  • Sushimane

    So Boston could get better

    • camguy1975

      This plus band 12 will be a whole different ballgame come spring.

  • Qbancelli

    Not in NYC, so I don’t care!

    • NYC is already great and Band 12 is active in a lot of areas!

      • Brian the populist.

        Tmus speeds & coverage in my opinion in nyc has deteriorated ie gone down in quality speeds included mind you i have a unlimited data plan.

        • Rob

          Band 12 plus carrier aggregation should theoretically provide a much better experience.

        • notyourbusiness

          That is true. I have the iPhone 6s and am seeing service in some places I didn’t previously get it, like in certain buildings around Queens and Manhattan.

  • Trevnerdio

    Heey, I’m planning a trip to the St. Paul metro area in June :D I hope it’s approved and implemented before then.

    • enoch861

      You’ll be fine either way. We already get constant 30+Mbps down and 10+Mbps up in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metro area.

      • Trevnerdio

        Awesome! Good to know.

    • I agree with @enoch861:disqus . We also have WideBand, and band 12 LTE active. Currently where I’m at, NE St.Paul area. I’m getting 34Mbps down and 12Mbps up. Then again this is at a non-peak time.

      • Trevnerdio

        50+ is almost the norm where I live, I love it lol

        • Nice! Max i got was 70+ on YouTube i’ve seen some get 100+ which is insane! But probably less congested tower.

        • Trevnerdio

          Yep, I’ve gotten 113 indoors here before lol

        • Zach Chadwick

          I would get about 25mbps down, and about 15mbps Up in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I now live in San Diego, CA, and I normally see nothing slower than 45mbps Down, and 25mbps UP during anytime of the day. It’s really nice. Haha.

  • Michael Barnes

    hope there is some for viginia maybe in some rural areas across the country

    • Cellphone Chris

      I hope for viginia every day.

      • Aaron C

        Predictive text error again here I think.

  • In Austin, T-Mobile owns a couple of blocks of 5 and 10 MHz spaced by a 5 MHz block belonging to ATT. After this deal, T-Mobile would have the same 15 MHz of PCS spectrum, but continuous. That’s what send to be the goal of such swaps, benefiting both companies and their respective customers.

    • Fabian Cortez

      Contiguous, but yes, you have the right idea.

      • But not the best predictive text…

        • dtam

          I always have to turn off my auto-correct with every device

        • TMOTECH

          If you use SwiftKey it learns how you type and eventually autocorrect works to your benefit. I usually don’t even have to type more than 3 words and it catches on to what I am saying and I just need to select the words.

        • dtam

          I’ve used it before, I usually Swype though. Just need to turn off auto correct, auto cap, auto space

  • David

    this is awesome, good for both companies. Instead of dealing with pieces of spectrum scattered all over the place, they can simply deploy a large chunk of it. Consumers benefit from it as well.

  • FILA

    You dont need a special phone for this 15+15 and 20+20 and so on do you, to access the speeds?

    • Stefan Naumowicz


    • Jay J. Blanco

      Long as the device came out after 2011 your good.

    • Nope, This will most likely be Band 2 and/or Band 4 which most T-Mobile phones support.

  • YABD

    That means we are going to have better coverage?

    • No, better performance. If you have coverage issues with TMUS, change the carrier. Cellphone service is not a marriage.

      • YABD

        Cellphone service is not a marriage, but paying 180 to verizon is a pain every month.

        • $180 per month is like paying alimony!

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  • Jess

    Is it just me, or does SiriusXm have some kinda vendetta against Tmobile? Seems they are now opposed to this particular swap as well! SMH.


    This is by far the best news that I hear in a long time .. this was suppose to be done long time ago .. This is BIG .. is a win win for the consumers … Now I really hope that the FCC approve this …

  • wsj

    What, no more 5+5 in San Antonio?

  • I’ve been seeing Band 4 20×20 LTE throughout Northern California, starting last week. Maybe this has something to do with it.