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Verizon and T-Mobile Swap Spectrum, Awaits FCC Approval

Verizon and T-Mobile look to shake hands over a transfer of spectrum recently that now only needs FCC approval to take place. With the transfer, both companies hope to broaden their output for customers, which Big Red will likely use to put towards their 4G LTE network. On the other side of the deal, T-Mobile can now begin their construction of an actual 4G network. 

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.

Specifics on how much this deal is worth are not being disclosed, but it could be pretty hefty. Only time will tell whether the FCC will have any objections or not.


Agreement Enables LTE Expansion and Benefits Customers of Both Companies 

BASKING RIDGE, NJ – Verizon Wireless today announced an agreement with T-Mobile USA to exchange specific spectrum in the AWS (Advanced Wireless Services) band. Under the agreement, both companies also will receive additional spectrum depth in specific markets to meet LTE (Long Term Evolution) capacity needs and enable LTE expansion. Since this agreement includes spectrum that will be purchased by Verizon Wireless in its transactions with SpectrumCo, Cox and Leap, this agreement is contingent on the closing of those transactions.

The agreement includes a number of intra-market spectrum swaps that will result in better use of the AWS band for both companies. The agreement also includes exchanges of spectrum between the companies in numerous markets which result in an overall net transfer of spectrum from Verizon Wireless to T-Mobile and a cash payment from T-Mobile to Verizon Wireless. Financial terms of the agreement are not being disclosed. The license transfers require FCC approval which is expected later this summer.

“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,” said Dan Mead, president and CEO of Verizon Wireless. “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.”

The agreement between Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile is a private commercial arrangement that will allow both companies to optimize their respective spectrum holdings for LTE deployment and to meet their customers’ needs.

  • Guest

    Your link is a spam link that redirects to something else. Very uncool.

  • ChrisTraeger1
  • chris125

    I am anxious to see how tmo uses this. I think with how verizon is doing everything in their power to get people to switch with all this spectrum tmo is getting from this and the at&t failed merger it could really help them to expand and lure in some customers with their cheap plans.

  • Immolate

    T-Mo gets net additional AWS spectrum from this while Verizon gets net negative spectrum and some cash, but that’s not why Verizon is doing it.

    Verizon’s purpose is to give the FCC a fig leaf to approve their spectrum buy from several major cable companies, which the FCC has been grumping about for a while now. That’s a big deal to Big Red.

    • KeIIer

      It would br hilarious if the FCC denied Verizon’s purchase of the cable companies after they approved the T-Mobile deal.

  • Lucky Armpit

    I’m sorry for asking what I’m sure will appear to be a stupid question, but what does “transfer of spectrum” mean?

    • nightscout13

      Well, it’s not sexual…..

    • mule0331

      Spectrum is another name for a rage of frequencies. Lets say a company uses a frequency between 800 and 900 mhz for their communication, thats the spectrum of frequencies they operate in.

      • Lucky Armpit

        Thanks for the clarification!

  • flyinggerbil

    nice. that will make jumping to t-mobile easier once google starts pumping out their new nexus phones.

    • frankandsimple

      you can already jump to Tmobile with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus phone and tap into their HSPA+ network that’ll get you around 5-8 Mbps. The GSM version of the phone of course.

    • JoshGroff

      Truth be told, only T-mobile and AT&T have “4G” where I live, which sure beats VZW’s 3G of course.

  • WickedToby741

    I don’t see any reason why the FCC would have a problem with this. You have the largest carrier throwing scraps to the 4th largest national carrier. It’s not even likely that Verizon wants to do this but rather they’re doing it to push their cable spectrum deal through. T-Mobile was vocally apposed to the cable deal initially, but now that they’re getting spectrum from Verizon and getting that spectrum relies on the cable deal going through, Verizon has effectively eliminated a vocal opponent of the cable deal.

  • King of Nynex

    Why does T-Mobile need more spectrum? They are America’s Largest 4G network! It says right there in the ads!

    • Good_Ole_Pinocchio


    • Mick

      T-mobile does not have Americas Largest 4G network, VERIZON DOES.

      • WickedToby741

        Everyone has the largest 4G network depending on how you define 4G.

        AT&T claims it has the largest 4G network when really it’s claiming HSPA+ 21 to be 4G when it’s really more like 3.5G. They’re LTE network isn’t big enough to even matter.
        T-Mobile also claims it has the largest 4G network by claiming HSPA+ as 4G, but they have more HSPA+ 42 which is closer to true 4G but still a cheap marketing tactic.

        Sprint could claim they have the largest 4G network if you only count WiMax as 4G (although I don’t know why on earth someone would do that). Sprint doesn’t trumpet having a large 4G network as much as being the only major carrier left sporting true unlimited data.

        Verizon technically has the largest, true 4G network, but nobody else will admit that.

        • Adam Steiner

          Except for the fact that LTE isn’t 4G either, just better than HSPA+.

          • None of these are even close to being true 4G, the closest is LTE which is about 1/4 the minimum requirement

          • nightscout13

            the requirement for 4G is 100Mbps. LTE is capable of 60 Mbps

          • Grr stupid internet the post did not go posted successfully.

            But anyways I have never seen my speed eclipse 30Mbps on Verizon which is a little more than 1/4 the minimum speed for 4G (100Mbps), also that minimum speed is supposed to only occur if I am going speeds of like 50mph+. The max is supposed to be 1Gbps when getting peak connections which it is really far from.
            Although while nothing may be truly 4G now LTE Advanced if I remember is supposed to hit true 4G speeds and only requires tweaks to current LTE infrastructure.

          • nightscout13

            I’ve hit 60Mbps, but that’s when driving next to a LTE tower that was installed at an airport. I noticed the military and government always get the better towers.

          • PC_Tool

            Bah. I hate disqus. Stop posting and then telling me you didn’t post it.

            …or DIAF.

            (I am referring to Disqus, not you, Adam…sorry for the spam.)

          • PC_Tool

            On December 6, 2010, ITU-R recognized that these technologies that do not fulfill the
            IMT-Advanced requirements, could nevertheless be considered “4G”

            LTE, HSPA+ and WiMAX are all 4G.

            Don’t mind me, I’m anti-semantic

    • summit1986

      HSPA+ is not 4G

      • AnotherAndroidKid

        Nor is LTE.

        • nightscout13

          LTE is much closer to TRUE 4G than HSPA+ or HSDPA

          • michael arazan

            I was reading about true 4g and its definition roughly states to 100mb and that they changed the meaning, and lowered the limit basically, so that they could use the terminology for it.

      • WickedToby741

        It was a tongue-in-cheek comment. There was more than a hint of sarcasm you should have picked up on.