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T-Mobile Buying Unused Spectrum From Verizon to Bolster LTE Coverage

T-Mobile 4G LTE

It’s no secret at this point that T-Mobile CEO John Legere is looking to make waves in the mobile industry. All the UnCarrier plans and smack talk against other carriers will only get you so far if your network performance can’t back it up. It looks like T-Mobile is starting off 2014 by expanding that network coverage with a little help from Verizon

T-Mobile announced today that in addition to paying Verizon $2.365 billion, a large amount of low-end spectrum worth almost $950 million, will be changing hands in many major markets across the country. We are talking about 700 MHz, lower A-Block spectrum that Verizon purchased during their LTE rollout.

This purchase gives T-Mobile a considerable boost in lots of markets around the country. “9 out of the top 10 and 21 out of the top 30 markets” will be seeing coverage increase through this purchase. This means not only in size of area coverage, but also quality as well. T-Mobile says that with this purchase they will end up covering 158 million people in low-band spectrum.

Switching to T-Mobile is looking more and more enticing every day. Are you thinking about heading for the UnCarrier?

Via: T-Mobile
  • Bill Berry

    T-Mobile has got to increase data speeds in rural areas to at least HSPA+ and get on the ball getting towers erected like in places like Thomaston, GA where there is a huge donut hole of no coverage whatsoever. Where there is; it’s 2G and that’s pathetic given that AT&T has at least HSPA+ everywhere and 4G LTE in places where T-Mobile the moment you leave a city limit reverts immediately back to 2G. Inexcusable given I had to leave T-Mobile after 15 years and begging them no less to erect some towers; think they listened, nope! Sure didn’t mind making me pay for it though.

  • Earnest

    I’m already with T-Mobile been here through the thick and thin almost 10 years

  • Sandi Thurston

    I live in a area that is 3G and have verizon iPad and phone. UAE both excessively. What would be the advantage with tmobil?

  • Tony Tone

    It left a bad taste in my mouth when I was finally able to upgrade on Verizon in 2012 but that came with losing my unlimited data (my old phone at the time the Thunderdud needed to be laid to rest) so now I have a leash around my neck with capped data. I qualified for $0 down on a Note 3 yesterday on T-Mobile and will test it out in the areas I travel to the most but if it’s gonna be 2g most of the time then I will send it back and keep my Note 3 on overpriced Verizon until T-Mobile can get their network up to par. Not everyone sits in a metro area 365 days a year. Will keep you posted

  • Quint

    I’m happy T-mobile is beefing up thir spectrum… However, I just cannot leave because of the sparse 2G coverage when I go north of Tallahassee. And it is roaming on AT&T.

    I have to say that their “4G” (my prepaid phone doesn’t have LTE) isn’t too shabby. However, data signal still goes to 2G indoors and this spectrum buy is of no consequence in this area.

    Go TMo go… Get it going. Meanwhile I will be on Verizon waiting to switch.

  • punkroyale

    I went to TMO from Verizon with hesitation. I believe that VZW is over priced and I have been unhappy with phone choice and slowness to push out updates. By in large my trepidation was unwarranted. Transition to TMO was easy and everything from customer service to signal strength has been great. (I love the Nexus 5).

    • AngryBadger

      I am in that boat right now, I am just waiting to figure out if I can leave my family plan but give my grandfathered-unlimited-data to someone in my plan before jumping ship… I echo the phone choice and slow updates.

  • Tom

    My question is… how much of their AWS/PCS did T-Mo sell? Selling most of it would not be wise, but if they only gave up a portion (since they had many of those bands) it could prove to effectively bolster their network on all sides. If they sold most of it, their network would be overall weaker.

  • hippo

    Had my wife switch to tmo first so we could compare vzw and tmo coverage around nyc. Coverage and speeds have been great so far, and the international data was fantastic during our trip to spain. Just got back and placed my nexus 5 order. Good riddance verizon!

  • emcdonald75

    Now T-Mobile has to buy more A-Block spectrum or at least partner with others for roaming coverage. C-Spire, US Cellular and other regional operators are not using the A-Block spectrum or they are using the spectrum to offer some sort of fixed broadband service. T-Mobile must now go on a buying spree for A-Block spectrum to try and make the spectrum as nationwide as possible. Hopefully, Leap will sell their Chicago license before AT&T purchase them. We know how negatively AT&T and T-Mobile feel about each other. Lol

  • Emma Lewis

    now this is kind of hilarious, oh snap bit.ly/1effVjb lol

  • Chris Knepper

    I switched from Verizon to T-Mobile for the Nexus 5.
    How is the coverage? In populated areas, great! I get LTE or H+ in many places where I’d only get Verizon 3G.
    How is the rural coverage? Terrible. Driving from Cleveland, OH to Rochester, NY, I had no internet connection (not even EDGE) in the rural-est parts of OH/PA/NY.
    How are the speeds? Fantastic. Much faster LTE than Verizon and the H+ and 3G are both faster than VZW 3G too.
    How is the pricing? The best part. Less than half the cost of Verizon. I pick my phone, Verizon doesn’t.

    I love my T-Mobile service, I’ll just echo everyone’s wishes for better rural coverage. I don’t leave T-Mobile’s coverage often, but when I do, it’s really gone.

  • Arthur Dent

    So we are missing some important details here … what markets will this improve? And do current phones support these LTE bands?

  • LiberalGilt

    First gay marriage…..now this

    • SystemConfirmation

      Confirmation of TROLL as detected

      Same stup1d post all over

      topgear(dot)com/uk/photos/Across-Europe-in-the-McLaren-P1-2013-01-06
      madamenoire(dot)com/337631/drinking-passionate-football-fans-dont-mix-alabama-fan-attacks-oklahoma-fan-game/
      mommyish(dot)com/2014/01/05/questionable-good-parenting-memes/
      droid-life(dot)com/2014/01/06/t-mobile-buying-unused-spectrum-from-verizon-to-bolster-lte-coverage/comment-page-1/

  • Jpx

    I left Sprint for T-mobile, and boy am I happy. Im not going to lie and say everything is perfect, I have had some drop calls. But thats like 1 for every 5 dropped calls at Sprint. The data speeds are remarkable, I have used over 8 gigs and all my 2.5 gig tethering and the $70 data plan just keeps on giving. Sprint’s data coverage was non-existant.

    I love T-mobile so far, and am switch the whole family to join. I can’t believe I was allowing myself to deal with sprints bs the last 14 years…

    • spookiewon

      Well, DUH! Sprint’s the only carrier with worse coverage than T-Mo! FFS!

  • J. Gilbertson

    If only they’d convert their 2G towers in Arkansas to at least HSPA if not LTE I’d switch. I would get good coverage up in NW Arkansas but if I ever went to Fort Smith I’d be left at 2G.

    • Godzilla

      They actually are doing that. It’s just a slow process.

      • J. Gilbertson

        Painfully slow. My Verizon contract is up in June. I still have unlimited data so I’m hesitant to switch. Fortunately/unfortunately 6 months in smartphone years is like 6 months in dog years. Technology should be starting to move into the next iteration of VoLTE and we’ll see where that is. That may be my determining factor in whether to stay or go.

  • AndrewScottRox

    I was prepared to leave Verizon once my contract was up but I found a killer deal on a Moto X. It’s pairing up very nicely with my unlimited data and put my GNex in retirement.

    In terms of this deal though, what does this really mean? Is this a massive blanket of coverage or just a booster to their existing network?

  • James Briano

    Already switched for a Nexus 5…. feeling better about it every day.

  • Hardstyle

    I went up to Burlington, VT with my Nexus 5 on T-Mobile and had Edge service if I wasn’t Roaming. When I had Verizon with a S4 and went to Burlington I had LTE. Could it be the radios in the nexus 5 or is it because of the carrier that I didn’t have LTE with my N5 on TMO?

    • yo

      T-Mobile has very limited coverage in Vermont.

  • Jason V

    My Nexus 5 is arriving today goodbye Verizon hello T-Mobile

  • Tyler

    You got the dollar amount of the transaction wrong, T-Mobile is paying Verizon $2.365 billion, and giving Verizon $950 million worth of AWS and PCS spectrum.

    That means that the deal is worth over $3 billion.

    It also means that T-Mobile is going to loose some of it’s existing spectrum, which will not be good for their network at all. T-Mobile needed that spectrum that it is giving up to Verizon to be able to maintain it’s faster LTE speeds compared to Verizon.

    Current T-Mobile customers in affected areas will unfortunately be experiencing a slowdown in speeds due to Verizon taking over some of their spectrum.

    No current T-Mobile devices will be able to access the new 700Mhz spectrum either, as the new spectrum is band 12 which no devices on T-Mobile support as of now.

    So those fast LTE speeds on T-Mobile are about to go bye bye until you get a new phone that supports band 12.

    • 500kv

      I think the purchase is for 12Mhz (6×6) of 700Mhz spectrum. The only downside is its the only possible configuration is 5×5 LTE with no room to add a voice channel. Voice over LTE is available yet. They would need another 10Mhz (5×5) to add a HSPA carrier to handle voice and as a fallback from LTE.

  • Daeshaun Griffiths

    Eriiiiccc, good profile pic.
    Cmon tmo!!! Force my hand. Make me switch.

    • http://www.droid-life.com/ Eric Rees

      Thanks :D

  • chris_johns

    good to hear…but now with my moto x off contract…im perfectly content with vzw and the 50 i give my parents a month for my family plan…until they try to rip my unlimited data from my cold dead fingers…and when they do tmobile here i come!

  • MistaButters

    Verizon better watch out if they are not careful. AT&T’s network has finally almost caught up to Verizon for the majority of people (not all), and their fallback 3G (HSPA+) absolutely crushes Verizon’s 3G CDMA network. And T-Mobile absolutely crushes Verizon in price and has been making some great strides in network capabilities recently. Tie that in with more people buying GSM phones out of contracts and more contract-less phone options (thank you Moto/Google), and Verizon could be facing some strong competition.

    • Adrynalyne

      That is what happens when you are used to being tippy-top dog for so long. You get complacent, and before you know it, your throne is pulled out from underneath you.

    • J. Gilbertson

      You can buy a Moto X off contract for $400 now for Verizon on Moto’s site. Not a bad deal. Too bad it’s pretty much the only cheap reasonable off contract option for Verizon. Great phone, just no competition currently. However if given an option for any phone on Verizon right now I’d either pick that or the Maxx.

      • yankeesusa

        Or you could get the LG G2 for only $449 off contract and still keep unlimited.

    • zurginator

      I just wish T-Mobile would hurry up and build out their coverage – I really don’t want to switch to AT&T but I have no choice at the moment.

    • Chris Hannan

      It’s still not even close. HSPA+ is a better network to fall back on, but it’s extremely rare I ever go somewhere that doesn’t have Verizon LTE. All that red is Verizon LTE. The blue is AT&T LTE.

      I don’t think Verizon has much to worry about. I don’t see a real reason for most people to pick AT&T over Verizon and T-Mobile is only good for people who live in good coverage areas and don’t move around much. Sure there will always be exceptions, but most people would be happy with Verizon.

      As long as I can keep unlimited data with unlimited tethering, I’m happy with them. I pay quite a bit for it, but no other carrier offers that.

      • MistaButters

        1) I don’t think this map is up to date. I live in So Cal and definitely get LTE in a lot of that area that isn’t LTE.

        2) It’s the difference between geography and population. Sure Verizon covers an absolutely crap load more physical space, but AT&T is quickly closing the gap on population covered. Plus, if you count HSPA+ as “4G” (I don’t but just go with me for a second), AT&T covers more people with “4G” than Verizon. And considering HSPA+ is 3-10 Mbps down in the majority of places, I wouldn’t say AT&T is getting that destroyed in coverage.

        tl;dr: Verizon still wins, but AT&T is making up ground fast.

      • yankeesusa

        Yea, for now verizon has nothing to worry about and they are also just about to start expanding their current LTE to include VOLTE and if I’m not mistaken they should have their whole 3g footprint covered in LTE by end or middle of 2014. I would go with them but I just can’t stand their customer service, locked down phones and pricing. I’m happy with Tmobile. I’m one of the lucky ones that has good coverage. I just got 40.3 mbps yesterday on LTE.

      • Jason B

        Around the holidays when there were a ton of people in one area, Verizon’s LTE became very unstable. I was kicked to 3G, then 1x; if I stayed on LTE, bandwidth was significantly lower (no higher than 2Mbps; but I got kicked to 3G more often than not). So, while they do have the coverage in area, they don’t really have the capacity to handle high traffic scenarios in many areas. This happened to me here in SoCal near Ontario after Christmas. I’d certainly take HSPA+ over EVDO.

        So, it’s not just about coverage maps, but also general performance and capacity to handle large volumes of connections.

  • jbdan

    Been with them since April 2013 after being with VZ for 11+ years (brought 3 lines over). Couldn’t be happier with the coverage (suburb outside Atl GA), service, and especially pricing wow. Being with tmo has actually been rather exciting :)

    • AngryBadger

      Good to hear your experience. I’m thinking about leaving VZW and jumping to TMO. I am just OTP as well. My gf has TMO and I have been asking her about her signal strength on our travels around GA to test the waters a bit more, lol.

  • Demolition505

    I left Verizon for them and couldn’t be happier. My download speeds are almost three times faster.

    • Steve B

      Same here. Huge sigh of relief when I realized I’d never have to deal with Verizon again.

      • Ian Smith

        Ditto. Sold my grandfathered unlimited data for $350 on eBay. PITA but worth every cent.

        • Deeter

          Where you able to keep your number? i would totally do this, but i have had the same number for almost 15 years….

          • elemeno
          • Cowboydroid

            The only issue I had with this is when I went to Verizon’s website and attempted to get a new number, my old number had not yet been ported to T-mobile. So when I got my new Verizon number, my old number was simply sent into their collection of unused numbers, and never got ported over. Took a nerve-racking few hours on the phone with them to get it back.

            I would suggest waiting until the number has ported over to T-mobile, and THEN calling Verizon to request a new number, being very explicit that you do not want to cancel your contract.

          • AngryBadger

            Would this scenario work out: 3 unlimited data (month-to-month now), 1 no data line (non-smartphone)… I want to leave Verizon (I am account owner w/ one of the unlimited data lines). Could I switch the no data line to my unlimited line and finally make the jump to T-Mobile; thus leaving the 3 remaining Verizon users w/ unlimited data (month-to-month)? I really like T-mobiles handset line up over Verizon and service is fine in my area.

          • Cowboydroid

            You’re asking if you can turn the no-data contract line into an unlimited data contract line? I would think that’s nearly impossible. But you might be able to switch the numbers between the lines, if you call Verizon. Ask them if you can transfer the number from the unlimited line to the no data line, and from the no data line to the unlimited line. I don’t see any reason why they wouldn’t be able to. And if the first rep won’t do it, call again later and ask another rep. The reps don’t always know what they’re talking about. I had to call back twice to get my number reinstated because the first rep plainly stated that she couldn’t do it, even though I had been told earlier that it was possible. The next one was able to do it without any problem.

          • AngryBadger

            Yeah, just looking to some how save my unlimited data for someone to actually use it. Definitely understand about calling back, have had to do that a few times lol… don’t get me started on store reps… ugh.

          • Cowboydroid

            I did and was able to keep my number. You just need to work with both companies to make sure it happens right. Sign up for service with Tmobile first with a new number, then transfer your number from Verizon.

      • Wifulated42

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    • Richard Yarrell

      Leaving VERIZON in June 2012 was THE BEST THING EVER. Tmobile has been a TOTAL JOY my three lines of service is proof. I will be welcoming line number 4 when the Galaxy Note 4 is announced in October 2014.

      • squiddy20

        Go back to android and me, no one here needs to hear your jargon.

      • squiddy20

        Your “3 lines of service” is not proof of anything, other than the fact that you’re a total idiot. All you have is a Note 3. There’s no reason to have 3 lines of service. Not to mention the added cost of the other 2 lines which you’re not utilizing. What a joke.

        • youjackass

          Instead of just calling you a total tool, I’ll just leave the possibility that when he said “my” he may have meant he, as the primary account holder, and not ‘my’ as in “I have three lines of service for myself” at your feet.
          And even if he did, you’re still a tool and he’s still paying for them.
          get over yourself

          • squiddy20

            Too bad I know for a fact that, before he got his Note 3, he stated he would be selling his Note 2, and before he got his Note 2, he claimed to have sold his S3. Also, you’re talking about the same guy who goes around stating his *opinions* as if they are facts, and even went so far as telling other people their opinions were “wrong” or “useless”. He doesn’t care about anyone but himself, and thinks whatever he thinks is what everyone else thinks.

    • Eldorath

      Did the same thing during the holidays. Got a LOT more, for a LOT less per month, switching from VZW to T-Mo. Tried to sell the unlimited grandfathered lines, but since I wasn’t officially on a contract anymore, VZW was having none of it. (Tried 6x, with both in-store and online… every one stated the same thing, I could assign an assumption of liability on an account that had no liability associated with it… aka: no contract)

      Coverage is on par, here in my neck of the woods, with VZW, and actually better in a few locations. Haven’t tested it outside the 100mile radius of the city, but I’m sure it’d be an issue if I did travel to other unknown areas more often.

    • spookiewon

      Hmm…..I left T-Mo for Verizon and couldn’t be happier. Never had a signal with them. No matter where I was, I never had internet access. It was $10 cheaper a month, but I never got to use it anyway.

  • Derp

    Pretty sure this was a $3.3 billion deal. The 950 million came from a spectrum transfer.

    • Derp Deux

      It has been fixed :-)

  • T S

    i’ve been on T-Mo from Verizon for a few months now. I’ll say that i have awesome voice/text coverage pretty much everywhere. .data is where things are spotty. With this news and seeing how serious they are about expanding their coverage. well, i’m definitely excited about this.

  • Stephen

    I’ve had T-Mo since the N4 came out, and I have to say that I’ve been nothing but pleased. Yeah, they have somewhat spotty coverage compared to VZW, but I have seen BIG improvements over this time period. I used to have a dead spot right at my house, and that has since been patched and I even get LTE. I have LTE everywhere I go now, and as little as 1 month ago, I didn’t use to. Not to mention, the network is pretty darn fast.

  • bizaro57

    My verizon contract is up and I’m looking to switch but I don’t hear good things for T-Mobile in my area. I’m looking to ATT still an overpriced beast but atleast I could finally get a nexus. Are they obligated to sell off this unused spectrum? Or are they over pricing it? Seems like something Verizon would decline so they could continue their reign. Maybe they just don’t see T Mobile as a threat?

    • Christopher

      Consider AIO Wireless. Runs off AT&T LTE network prepaid. I used it for a while on my Nexus 5 and never had an issue.

    • Chris Hilbert

      I’d do T-Mobile since it’s not contract. Do 1 month of prepaid, judge yourself and then cancel if it sucks.

  • Godzilla

    I will check it out in 2015

    • MichaelFranz

      i agree. Buying it is one thing, how quick they implement it is another. I’ll check out coverage maps throughout the year and maybe next year jump ship. I dont think its smart to jump now just because Legere said too. I do applaud them for everything they are doing but also, its only a matter of time before VZW and ATT do something about it.

  • Lucky Armpit

    I’m not looking to switch from Verizon, but this sounds exciting for existing T-Mobile customers… or those looking to jump from AT&T. Pretty cool that Legere is really trying to shake up the industry, which is better than the constant back-and-forth of “We’re the largest network!” “No, WE’RE the largest network!” stuff we see all the time.

    That being said, I really could do without the close-up head shots of Legere. I’m no CQ model, but those pics of him are really starting to weird me out.

    • master94

      I have nightmares too. It’s okay

  • Defenestratus

    I already left Verizon for T-mo.

    While its been a pleasant experience on the whole, the lack of coverage outside of metropolitan cities is quite … disconcerting. In some rural areas of Georgia I don’t even get 2G.

    However here in Florida, they’ve basically blanketed the area in 4G LTE and its super-fast. Much faster than Verizon’s LTE.

    • enigmaco

      That’s probably because of the merger with metro pcs, they had a strong presence down there that is great to hear though.

  • chris125

    And still nothing for outside of major cities. That is the only thing holding many back, you can’t neglect the “rural areas” or you will be a non starter for many who don’t stay inside those large metros.

    • El_Big_CHRIS

      This is also the reason for me. I have 4 lines and I need them to all have a connection. VZW still better :(

    • http://www.droid-life.com/ Eric Rees

      This low-band spectrum is actually aimed at hitting that problem. The low frequency allows it to go for longer distances and not just focus around the metro area. It’s not an instant fix for your problem, but they’re working on making it better.

      • The Finn

        But non of their existing phones are able to use those low bands so everyone on their network right now couldn’t access it if they wanted too. You’ll have to buy new phones to use them, which most people on contracts or use their phones for a couple years aren’t going to do. Only a very small margin of people upgrade every 6 months to a year.

  • enigmaco

    can’t wait to take my talents to t-mobile and leave verizon in my rearview mirror

    • http://www.droid-life.com/ Eric Rees

      Will you be going to South Beach?

      • enigmaco

        it’s 0 degrees where I am at currently wouldn’t mind it lol

        • spookiewon

          Wow. Positively balmy! It’s -22 here.

  • KCCO

    once confirmed that i can have decent speeds in my end of northern FL I will jump ship.. till then Moto X, no contract, unlimited for me…

    • Mark Mann

      On the space coast, T-Mobile leaves vzw in the dust… Switched back in October, couldn’t be happier

  • V.A.N.

    I can’t wait for this to happen.