Deutsche Telekom may sell T-Mobile Netherlands to help T-Mobile US acquire spectrum


Last month, T-Mobile CFO Braxton Carter teased Magenta’s plans for the upcoming 600MHz spectrum auction, including how much T-Mo plans to spend. Now a new report claims that T-Mo’s parent company may move to help it acquire that 600MHz airwaves that it desires.

Several reports have come out today that claim that Deutsche Telekom may sell T-Mobile Netherlands. According to Bloomberg’s sources, DT is considering the move to reduce debt and “acquire wireless frequencies in the US” It’s suggested that the sale of T-Mobile Netherlands could get Deutsche Telekom anywhere between 4 billion ($4.53 billion USD) and 5 billion euros ($5.7 billion USD).

Braxton Carter previously said that T-Mobile plans to use the upcoming auction to purchase 600MHz spectrum both in areas of the US that it doesn’t already cover with 700MHz airwaves, as well as 600MHz spectrum that covers major metro areas and can be used to bolster T-Mo’s existing coverage. It’s a big auction for T-Mobile, and a cash boost from Deutsche Telekom could really help T-Mo get the airwaves that it wants to further improve its network coverage, which is one thing that T-Mobile often gets knocked for, even as Magenta continues to expand its network and roll out Extended Range LTE coverage.

Thanks, Austin!

Sources: Bloomberg, MarketWatch

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  • KlausWillSeeYouNow

    When is the auction?

    • Hurlamania


  • Sushimane

    I’m gonna cross my fingers they get a good amount of spectrum.

    • yeah right

      There is a backup play here for the long run – buy US cellular after the auction ( i honestly think the auction and the rules for low band is the honest reason why this hasn’t happened yet).

      • Sushimane

        It would be crazy if they did that grab nationwide 600 mhz and then buy US cellular for their 700 mhz

      • Kirn Gill

        I highly doubt anyone will be buying USCC anytime soon.

  • NinoBr0wn

    Funny how things change.

    • Bradley Karas

      Right…finally realizing they need to invest more in TMUS and less in their failing ventures in EU

  • AS118

    Sounds good. If this keeps up, T-mobile may be able to tie AT&T for #2 in the future.

  • Paul Garrison

    Improve service and Uncarrier will bring customers faster anything else.

  • Verizonthunder

    T-Mobile need’s to focus on expanding 15×15 or 20×20 as some location’s have horrible data speeds or worse unable to open a web page. Also more diverse selection of smartphones like window’s smartphones. Enough with selling smartphones with atrouchous specifications for budget users.

    • Kirn Gill

      Windows Phone is even worse. There’s very little in the way of software for the platform. It’s about as viable in the mobile space, near-term, as Linux is on traditional desktop, laptop, and tablet PCs.

      • Verizonthunder

        Never implied for Windows devices but only to expand a very limited eco system of devices T-Mobile offer.

        • Kirn Gill

          Oh, how pitiful… but, you know what, it could be worse, with some operators, both domestic and foreign, they offer no devices at all! The horror!

          Quite frankly, if you don’t like what’s in the T-Mobile store, go to the AT&T store, buy a phone, and demand your unlock code before you walk out the door. Or go to Amazon, or eBay, or wherever unlocked phones are sold. It’s not Verizon, people, you aren’t required to use a device specifically sold by them.

          Hell, speaking of Verizon, they are legally prohibited from locking their phones, per 47 CFR 27.16(e). Go buy a compatible handset in a Verizon store for all it’s worth.

          T-Mobile has absolutely no problem activating all of those devices on their network. In fact, when I switched in 2012, the sandwich board advert in the doorway showed a mocked-up phone with an AT&T logo wallpaper, and the words “Unlock and save!” The T-Mobile rep had no problem scanning my AT&T handset’s IMEI and activating it on their network with one of their SIM cards.

  • Paul

    This sounds promising.

  • Aurizen

    Thats crazy that would mean T-Mobile could spend up to maybe 15-20 billion if they wanted to if Deutsche Telekom sells!

  • steveb944

    I’m not holding my breath given the history. But time will tell.

  • pda96

    It’s the right thing to do. DT needs to make TMO a serious contender. The only way is to load up on low freq spectrum.

  • Bryck

    Wow!!! Sounds like DT is willing to stick to T Mobile for the near future. Hopefully they dump at least 5 to 10 billion and get some serious spectrum for the long run.

  • David

    They should make John Legere the global president for TMobile Europe as well to save Tmobile’s business in europe.

    • BobbieDooley

      The answer to that idea was already discussed after Telekom Capital Days. German management said they “liked his style” however he wouldn’t be a good fit in Germany.

      • David

        haha…. those germans are so uptight.

        • BobbieDooley

          I think they only have fun one time per year during oktoberfest. The rest of the year, they’re trying to uphold their work ethic, I guess.

          Still, there are a few German people who are comedians. Not very many… But Daniel Tosh comes to mind. I think most German Comedians are easily mistaken for being… um.. not straigtt..

    • Allen Alberto Enriquez

      I Love you idea David!

  • Mike

    Granted any spectrum from this auction obviously doesn’t get deployed until a couple years down the road, but what band would 600mhz operate on with 700 being band 12? I assume new devices will be needed one this is put into effect in a couple years

    • Calgrav24

      A band has not been chosen yet so it will be a while before the technical aspects of this frequency get cleared up let alone being put into use by carriers will be a long ways off.

  • jay

    This is very good news. Ok so they would have more cash for more 600mhz. But why not use money that DT gives them or can possibly give them and try and buy a smaller carrier. Someone with 700mhz. This way they can use now instead of years down the road. I’ve read somewhere that whatever 600mhz they get they won’t be able to deploy for roughly 3-4 years? If that’s correct I say get as much low band from a purchase and then get what you can in auction? I mean I’m just throwing that idea out there

    • gmo8492

      Braxton Carter did mention that T-Mobile will continue to purchase band 12 licenses in conjunction with participating in the auction. So the acquisition of smaller carrier is a possibility if T-Mobile wants to strengthen its low band LTE footprint.

      • taron19119

        T-mobile hust purchase more 700 band 12 but will make the official announcement during q3 results

  • Drewski

    Very interesting to know about. Well I’m happy for the most part.

  • kev2684

    DT is showing signs of love to T-Mo USA? that’s new!

  • Cam Fas

    Sounds like it won’t be too many years before T-Mobiles coverage if they can eventually retire edge and hspa+ and combine 600-700-plus all other spectrum with carrier aggragation there will never be a reason to leave.

    • Eric Butler

      Edge is already going bye bye. They’re retiring Edge networks and repurposing for LTE

      • T-Mo-WinFan

        Edge is unlikely to go away because it is used by IoT and alarm companies. Also, most networking equipment have 2G support ‘added’ at no extra cost. So supporting 2G is almost no cost to cell phone companies. Another factor to consider is international roaming. Since 3G & 4G are implemented on various standards, many international roamer fall back on 2G as that still is the only universal standard available to all users.

        • (J²)

          T-Mobile is actually in the process of re-purposing spectrum already being used for 2G. In North Carolina, this has already been done.

          I’m not sure how other industries are planning to adapt.

          T-Mobile is the only major carrier to even have 2G. Of course, there are some (very few) rural areas where you can pick up the older technologies.

        • John Wentworth

          They are repurposing some of their 2G spectrum not all of it.
          They haven’t actually started shutting down 2G
          T-mobile is generally leaving a very small edge deployment live on towers for legacy devices.

          AT&T is in the process of repurposing edge for LTE but they haven’t even made much progress on that, Edge on my AT&T sim still works fine in NJ.

          Verizon and Sprint both still have 2G though for them it’s not edge but 1xRTT

          You don’t see these things very often in normal usage because you phone defaults to the fastest network available, but’s it’s still there and you’ll still see it occasionally in fringe areas or if you change your phones connection to 2G

        • mingkee

          Sprint has to minimize 1x as little as possible (for legacy voice calling) as well as EV, so then Sprint will have more spectrum for LTE on B2 for foreign devices.

        • mingkee

          Actually, a lot of phones, especially smartphones, have B2 UMTS/HSPA support. Probably T-Mobile spares up minimum spectrum for GSM and UMTS in favor of LTE.

  • BobbieDooley

    T-Mobile’s Netherlands network is about the size of New Jersey.

    Most likely they are doing this so UPC Netherlands (A cable Company in Europe) can offer quad-play, and also attempt to gain favor from UK regulators as well as Virgin Media so EE (1/2 owned by Deutsche Telekom) can purchase British Telecom and BT’s wholesale business called OpenReach.

  • (J²)

    I actually see this as a bigger opportunity for both Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile. According to other sources, DT is investing in markets where it can offer more than just wireless service and exiting markets where it cannot.

    With a spike in M&A activity and an interest in Wireless-TV tie ups, this is a perfect opportunity for companies to enter the US market.

    Verizon Wireless is a subsidiary of Verizon
    AT&T has purchased DirectTV in addition to its own U-Verse

    It’s safe to say that Verizon and AT&T will be unable to justify any further M&A in the near future.

    Comcast attempted and failed to purchase Time Warner Cable. Now Charter is attempting to purchase Bright House and Time Warner Cables. Although the latter has generated less of a public outcry, the outcome is almost the same. The FCC will most likely be against any more duo-polies.

    In the likely event that this merger is rejected, Time Warner Cable will most likely be opened to being acquired again but this time with no real suitors.

    A T-Mobile – Time Warner Cable tie up or partnership is a consumers dream. It’s really time for an Uncable movement. If presented, the FCC would not reject it because IT IS in the public’s best interest.

    Of course, there would be plenty of details to work out but its an idea that has been tossed around by Legere himself.

    • nelagster

      >A T-Mobile – Time Warner Cable tie up or partnership is a consumers dream.

      hahahaahaha no

      • (J²)

        Might want to rethink that. Time Warner Cable’s CEO is ready to parachute from the company, which is why the idea of a financially healthy company being acquired is being entertained a little more than it should be.

        John Legere would become the CEO of both companies. That would mean that the uncarrier antics would make its way to TV providers.

        • nelagster

          Maybe but right now that seems like a pipe dream. Why would T-Mobile want to partner with TWC? They are literally one of the most hated companies in America. Legere would basically have to fire everyone and start over from the ground up.

        • (J²)

          I think TWC’s problems trickle down from management and their decisions. I’m not sure how a company that is hated by everyone including employees expects to offer decent customer service. I know plenty of people that worked for TWC, not a single nice thing can be said.

          It’s actually the course T-Mobile was on at one point.

          Everyone agrees TWC needs a complete overhaul, any company acquiring it will be burdened with that challenge. I doubt T-Mobile would purchase TWC but DT might. All that can be said is that there’s an interest. Your right, it may be too early to tell.

          The cable industry does need competition not consolidation.

      • Mike Palomba

        I would like a T-Mobile And Time Warner tie up

    • Allen Alberto Enriquez

      This is the great idea since John Legere arriving TMUS!

  • vinnyjr

    That would be fantastic. T-Mobile USA has developed into a Great Carrier. If this is true and T-Mobile gets all that low band spectrum T-Mobile will grow even faster than it has this past year. Very exciting to be a T-Mobile customer.

    • Ascertion

      Sort of. 600Mhz auction (assuming this is where DT’s funding will come into play) won’t have spectrum available for mobile network use until at the earliest, 2019. In the meantime, T-Mobile would be better off using its fundings for additional 700A spectrum, and use the 600Mhz auction to plan their future growth in the long-term.

      • Trevnerdio

        Trust me, they have other issues they could be worrying about in the meantime. I just went to Universal Orlando this past weekend and I could use my phone around 10:30 AM when we got to the park, but once it started getting crowded…forget about it. Full bars LTE wasn’t going to save you. It was literally unusable. Couldn’t even refresh my Facebook feed.

        • Fabian Cortez

          Sure density isn’t the best in Orlando for the vast increase in subscribers.

          I was at universal as well and can concur.

        • Romdude

          My question is how the other 3 carriers are doing in the those busy areas. Anyone know of others on those carriers and their experience there?

        • Universal Studios in Los Angeles doesn’t have great coverage either.

        • eanfoso

          … seriously you’re concerned about Facebook at universal studios? I’d be more concerned about getting condoms before Facebook in Orlando/ universal studios.

        • Bradley Karas

          Dude that area is HIGH traffic and Orlando isn’t fully live on band 12 yet. I was at Disney last night and my phone was flying give em a chance to fully deploy in that area. Or how about enjoy yourself and scenery and quit worrying about Facebook? Crazy?

        • Trevnerdio

          Yeah, crazy? Maybe I was having a conversation with someone and I wanted to look up something we were talking about. Maybe the lines are an hour and a half and I was trying to download a game for us to play. MAYBE, just maybe, you didn’t have all the details in a single comment. Crazy, huh? And yeah it’s high traffic. That’s not an excuse. Disney and Universal have always, always been high traffic. They knew that from the get-go. I love T-Mobile, but having an unusable phone for hours on end isn’t acceptable to most people.

        • Joel C. Payne

          The CEO says on Periscope all the time, to email him with wherever you’re getting poor coverage. -or-

        • Trevnerdio

          Really? Hm, interesting. Thanks, Joel!

  • rwmgd2

    Whatever the case is T-Mobile is moving quickly to deploy LTE at far faster rate than all the other carriers combined. It is amazing how fast you see LTE popping up and you can actually see a difference day to day especially in rural areas. Where in live in Northern Virginia, areas that had zero coverage one day literally have LTE the very next day. Same goes for the routes to West Virginia in the rural areas where there was little to no coverage. Ive been with T-Mobile now for a year and I am so glad I switched.

    • Cam Fas

      At this pace it won’t take long at all for them to match and then exceed the coverage of att and Verizon when they finally match the coverage the big players will really feel the heat I estimate they will match their coverage well before they can use 600mhz in their network but by the time 600 MHz is usable they will exceed. They just need to finish the edge to lte conversion there is an area in Vegas specifically mt Charlestown that is only E and it’s the same for att in the area so if they could cover that area with lte they will instantly have better coverage since its unusable there

      • Joel C. Payne

        Roaming…. whoever puts it up first also gets it.

    • Billy

      Dose t-mobile wireless have services in west virginia

  • John Wentworth

    Wow. that would be a huge change on posture towards T-mobile US by DT
    I hope they follow through on it, T-mobile needs to keep up it’s awesome momentum.
    Maybe DT is finally noticing how great they are becoming.

  • jay_max

    Maybe this will finally end the constant speculation that DT is still trying of offload T-Mobile US.

  • mingkee

    This is definitely a good move for us.
    DT should have recognized US division still have some potential. It’s good DT eventually have not given up.

    • GeorgeSmith1

      And then what..? Will you throw a party and buy a cake for converting customers to GSM standards?

      Don’t want to point out the obvious but, there are American manufacturing jobs that have been lost due to that kind of hate. Are you here on a Green Card like Neville Ray or just looking for cheap service?