Verizon, Leap Wireless seek FCC approval for spectrum swapAlex Wagner - Deputy Managing Editor, News Desk
Looks like Verizon Wireless and Leap Wireless (known for its Cricket subsidiary) are interested in playing a little game of Spectrum Swap. According to a new FCC filing, the trade would give Leap a 12MHz channel of 700MHz spectrum in Chicago that covers around 11 million people, which Leap says it would use to help deploy LTE coverage in the area. Meanwhile, Verizon will gain a handful of spectrum licenses, including 23 PCS licenses and 13 AWS-1 licenses, that cover around 18.7 million people in different parts of the country. Big Red plans to use the spectrum to improve its EV-DO and LTE coverage in those areas. The nitty-gritty details of the deal aren't known, but Leap notes that it'll "make a monetary payment" to Verizon if the deal is approved.
Sounds like a decent deal for customers on both carriers, no? There aren't many details yet on Leap's LTE plans, but the company has said that it'll launch a trial network in Tucson, Ariz. this year and that it hopes to cover 25 million people with LTE by the end of 2012. This spectrum from Verizon should help Leap build out an LTE network in Chicago that'll add an important market a quite a few people to its LTE rollout when the coverage finally goes live. Now we wait for the FCC to go over the proposed swap with a fine-tooth comb and decide whether or not Verizon and Leap's spectrum swap will be allowed to go down.