T-Mobile and Sprint sign reciprocal long-term spectrum lease agreement

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T-Mobile announced its Q3 2018 results this week, confirming a 4G LTE network that covers 324 million people and 600MHz LTE coverage that’s in more than 1,500 cities and towns. And in an SEC filing, T-Mo revealed another piece of network news.

T-Mobile signed a reciprocal, long-term lease agreement with Sprint in September 2018 in which they both have the right to use a portion of spectrum owned by the other carrier. The agreement includes a commitment of $533 million and an offsetting amount to be received from Sprint for the lease of T-Mo’s spectrum, and lease payments will begin in Q4 2018.

The filing also explains that T-Mobile and Sprint’s agreement does not qualify as an acquisition of spectrum licenses and that it is a distinct transaction from the companies’ proposed merger.

Other details on the agreement are pretty light, and according to Brian Goemmer of AllNet Insights & Analytics, the deal hasn’t yet appeared in FCC filings. Since the deal is worth $533 million, though, “it should be a pretty significant number of leases,” he said.

While T-Mobile says that this lease agreement with Sprint is distinct from its merger from Sprint, it probably helps that the two companies have been talking quite a bit lately due to their proposed merger. And while we don’t yet know much about this deal, the news of a reciprocal long-term spectrum lease is pretty interesting. Stay tuned.

Thanks, Rodion Mark!

Via: FierceWireless
Source: SEC

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  • Acdc1a

    I could be crazy, but this and the Dish cage rattling doesn’t sound like a 70% chance of a merger going through…it seems like plan B being implemented.

  • Bryck

    The merger is going through.

    • Acdc1a

      I think the opposite. This move proves that the two entities can operate independently and still share resources.

    • pda96

      Agreed. This is practically a done deal.

    • Nearmsp

      They said the same thing about T-mobile and AT&T. California and other states are challenging this merger and say it would lead to less competition and higher prices fo consumers. How will the political hack – Mr. Pai rubber stamp this for his boss Mr. Trump?

      • Shaun Michalak

        The difference between this and the AT&T merger is.. AT&T was a takeover to get rid of competition, and get more customers. There was nothing for AT&T to loose either way. Sprint on the other hand is loosing customers. they have 1.5 million customers less then they did 6 years ago. They really have no low band to use to improve their coverage in rural areas. and with them lowing prices to stay competitive / keep customers, this means that they have a LOT less money to play with for expansions, or to implement new tech. This is really going to play a major part in them keeping customers, and not going in debt..

        So with the T-Mobile merger, this puts 2 companies together that can both support each others limitations. T-Mobile still lacks coverage in a LOT of places, where Sprint can help them with this. Sprint has the spectrum that T-Mobile needs, and T-Mobile has the low band spectrum that Sprint needs. plus, a lot of coverage where Sprint is lacking in rural areas. In essence, they compliment each other to their own weaknesses, to make a better company.. AT&T’s merger can not say any of this.

  • posito75

    I think Tmobile wants a head start on 5G with Sprint spectrum. Smart, I think.. this will all be intercompany payments once the merger is approved. No cash really leaving the company and they get to play with a ⛵ of spectrum.

  • Tony Chen

    as long as t mobile keep getting over 1 million subscribers t mobile will reach at&t customers numbers. dont see why we need to merge witrh sprint.

    • Trevnerdio

      Don’t forget that, while the number is lower than T-Mobile’s, AT&T and Verizon are still adding customers as well. It would take a decade for T-Mobile to catch up even just to AT&T.

    • MattHuebbe

      They need the spectrum. Thats where ATT and Verizon are stronger.

    • Shaun Michalak

      As for coverage, Sprint does have coverage in a LOT of places where T-Mobile’s coverage is still very much lacking. So it is not just spectrum, but, coverage as well. Once they get all those Sprint towers, they can install their service on them, and make their coverage much better.

      The problem on Sprints end is that they are not really gaining customers.. In 2012, Sprint had 56.1 million customers.. But in 2018, they only had 54.6 million customers.. Now since Sprint has a roaming agreement with T-Mobile, where their customers can jump off of T-Mobile towers, maybe that will give them the boost that they need.. But, since I only know of band 2, 4, and 66 that they can use, I am not sure about band 12 at all, so that will still limit their customers.

  • Mike McDonald

    I’m not certain this is a plan B. I’d call it a hedge. Fact is, S goes belly up if merger is not approved. Who then wins? S has already admitted its long term prospects are bleak. Charter? Comcast? A cable company buying a cell network? How would that go? Google? Apple? Microsoft? Cisco? Son-san seems to want out.

    • Nearmsp

      Yes, same lame argument was made by AT&T that T-mobile would go belly up unless AT&T bought it. In a capitalistic economy, it is not the government’s role to decide who wins or who loses. At the right price, buyers for Sprint will emerge.

      • Sharti24

        But the government has the right to decide if private sector companies are allowed to merge or not? Allowing them to merge is not creating a monopoly, it’s allowing Tmobile to finally be able to compete with Att and verizon.

      • Shaun Michalak

        But AT&T really did not have much to back them up.. This is most evident by where T-Mobile is today. You also have to consider that it was a “big” competitor buying a smaller one, vs 2 smaller ones combining. AT&T would have been more of a buyout because they really did not have anything to gain, but less competition and more customers, by taking over T-Mobile.. While T-Mobile and Sprint joining could mean a much more competitive opponent, since it would mean more coverage to make them more of a competitor due to better coverage. T-Mobile has majorly upped their game, and coverage over the past few years, but, they still have a long way to go to really be a good contender. That is where the big difference is between the 2 mergers.

        You also have to remember.. Since the AT&T merger try, Sprint has lost a lot of customers, and to stay competitive, they have had to lower prices too to keep customers. This means that they have a lot less money to work with for expansions, getting 5g implemented, etc. You also need low band frequencies to have good coverage, which Sprint is really lacking. This is what will give T-Mobile a much better chance at it.

  • John Doe

    I was hoping for a roaming agreement.

    • Glenn

      me too.

    • Shaun Michalak

      Roaming on the T-mobile, or Sprint side.. There is a 4 year agreement between Sprint and T-Mobile already in place, where Sprint customers can roam off of T-mobile towers, and this stays in place, even if the merger does not go through. The thing is, from what I have read, I have only seen conformations of band 2 and 4 being able to be accessed so far. No band 12, 71, etc. Also, even if Sprint customers can roam, do not forget, you still have to have a phone that supports it.. For example, a lot of the cheaper phones through T-Mobile only support bands that they use.. like the Aristo 2 and the Samsung Galaxy J3.. I am sure that Sprints has some that do not support all of T-Mobiles bands too.

      • John Doe

        No I mean T-Mobile roaming on Sprint. I have been to areas where there is good sprint coverage but bad T-Mobile one and also with 5G if the merger does not happen it will benefit T-Mobile customers because Sprint is going to invest in 5G regardless of the merger.

        • Shaun Michalak

          I agree, it would be nice.. Not too long ago we were down in Luray Virginia, and T-Mobiles coverage down there is spotty.. The route on the way there, there was about 10?? miles with no service through T-Mobile.. But, upon looking it up, I found that Sprint had good coverage in that area.. But, i could not jump off of their towers at all.. and yes, I did have a phone that did support Sprints bands.. But that is one big problem with T-Mobile customers jumping off of Sprint towers.. A LOT of their phones only support the bands that T-Mobile uses, and since Sprint does not use the same bands, it makes it impossible for a lot of the T-Mobile customers to use the sprint service even if they wanted to.. For example, the Samsung Galaxy J3 and the LG Aristo 2 phones, both only support band 2, 4, 12, and 66.,. Yet Sprint uses band 25 and 41.

          I also have a stylo 4, but that does support band 41. and that is what I used to check it on. But basically, most budget model phones that are sold through T-Mobile, are just like those 2 I mentioned. They only support T-Mobile bands.

      • Jaxpcl

        My phone Moto X4 roams on B66.

        • Shaun Michalak

          B66 = B4.. Band 66 is just an expansion of band 4 uses blocks a-f on the frequency.. Band 66 uses that, plus G, H, I, and J blocks too.. Basically, the only real difference between band 4 and band 66 is that band 66 uses more blocks, and as such, can give faster download speeds.. So in essence, same thing.

    • Sean sorlie

      This is better than a roaming agreement. This allows cross use of spectrum on the home network, and not roaming.