T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless have agreed to swap key AWS spectrum licenses in 218 markets across the United States, according to separate press releases by the companies. The deal includes some spectrum from Verizon’s dealings with SpectrumCo, Cox Communications, and Leap Wireless, a sale T-Mobile USA had previously opposed. The agreement between T-Mobile and Verizon is contingent on that sale passing the FCC.
T-Mobile will improve its spectrum position in 15 of the top 25 markets in the U.S., by way of both additional spectrum and the ability to realign its existing spectrum holdings. T-Mobile will gain spectrum that covers about 60 million people, and will give Verizon spectrum that covers 22 million people, plus an undisclosed amount of cash. T-Mobile CEO Philipp Humm made the following statement:
“This agreement will provide T-Mobile with critical AWS spectrum, enhancing both network capacity and performance and allowing us to meet the growing consumer demand for 4G mobile broadband. This is good for T-Mobile and good for consumers because it will enable T-Mobile to compete even more vigorously with other wireless carriers. We anticipate FCC approval later this summer, in time for us to incorporate this new spectrum into our network modernization and the rollout of LTE services next year.” - Philipp Humm, CEO, T-Mobile USA
For its part, Verizon will gain key spectrum it needs to meet capacity needs for its high-speed LTE network. Verizon issued the following statement with the news:
“The agreement with T-Mobile is further evidence of the importance of a secondary spectrum market to give companies the flexibility to exchange or acquire spectrum to meet customers’ growing demands for wireless data services. The AWS licenses we’ll acquire from T-Mobile and through SpectrumCo, Cox and Leap will be used to add capacity to our 4G LTE network.” - Dan Mead, President and CEO, Verizon Wireless
The deal is expected to pass the FCC in the next few months, with the spectrum swap to be completed later this year. We’ll likely hear more from the FCC soon as it weighs in on both the currently proposed agreement as well as the agreement between Verizon Wireless and SpectrumCo, Cox, and Leap.