"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," T-Mobile CEO and President Philipp Humm said. "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."
T-Mobile will gain spectrum covering 60 million people ? notably in Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; Detroit; Minneapolis; Seattle; Cleveland; Columbus, Ohio; Milwaukee; Charlotte, N.C.; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Greensboro, N.C.; Memphis, Tenn.; and Rochester, N.Y. - in exchange for spectrum covering 22 million people and certain cash consideration. The agreement also includes exchanges in a number of markets in which the companies will swap licenses to create more contiguous blocks of spectrum and re-align spectrum in adjacent markets.
The Verizon-T-Mobile deal is contingent on Verizon getting government approval for three deals to buy spectrum from cable companies and Leap Wireless for a total of about $4 billion. Those deals were struck in November and December, but have met resistance from public-interest groups who say the cellphone company doesn't need more spectrum and shouldn't be cozying up to competitors such as the cable companies.
Verizon is the largest cellphone company in the U.S. and has a relatively strong spectrum position already.
To get the deals with the cable companies and Leap cleared, Verizon has already offered to auction other airwaves it isn't using.