T-Mobile to buy 700MHz A-Block spectrum from Verizon in cash and spectrum deal [UPDATED]

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from  Omaha, NE
| Published: January 5, 2014

T-Mobile CES 2013

Following rumors last month that claimed that T-Mobile was working to raise cash to take some 700MHz A-Block spectrum off of Verizon's hands, the big magenta operator has confirmed that such a deal is going down.

T-Mobile announced this morning that it has entered into an agreement with Verizon that'll see it gain some 700MHz A-Block spectrum licenses that cover around 150 million people in exchange for $2.365 billion in cash and some of its own AWS and PCS spectrum licenses that are estimated to be worth $950 million. The two carriers plan to realign spectrum blocks in select markets across the country, primarily in northern California and Atlanta.

T-Mobile says that this deal with Verizon will give it low-band spectrum in 9 of the top 10 and 21 of the top 30 markets in the U.S., with its low-band spectrum footprint estimated to cover 158 million people in cities like New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Washington D.C., and Detroit. T-Mo expects to begin rolling out service on its newly-acquired A-Block spectrum, along with phones that can access it, as soon as Q4 2014. The benefits of this low-band spectrum include better in-building coverage and a generally-improved network footprint.

As is usually the case with agreements like this, today's deal between T-Mobile and Verizon must run through the regulatory gauntlet and gain approval from the FCC and U.S. Department of Justice before it can be completed. The transaction is expected to close in mid-2014.

A late 2014 rollout of service that utilizes this 700MHz A-Block spectrum may seem like a ways off, but the important thing is that T-Mobile continues to work to acquire precious spectrum for its growing 4G LTE network, which currently covers 209 million people in 273 U.S. markets. T-Mobile is also in the process of improving its service in existing LTE markets, rolling out 10+10MHz LTE in 43 of the top 50 metro areas in order to provide greater capacity and faster speeds. T-Mo says that it's also working on "substantive deployments" of 20+20MHz LTE for 2014.

T-Mobile will hold a conference call at 11:00 AM ET this morning to discuss its deal with Verizon. You can bet that I'll be listening in to hear what John Legere and Co. have to say about the transaction, so keep it locked to PhoneDog for more.

UPDATE: Verizon has issued its own announcement of this deal, explaining that it'll transfer a total of 23 700MHz A Block spectrum licenses to T-Mobile in the following markets: 

  • New York, N.Y.
  • Cleveland, Ohio
  • Houston, Texas
  • Philadelphia, Pa.
  • Detroit, Mich.
  • San Antonio, Texas
  • Washington, D.C. – Baltimore, Md.
  • Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Denver, Colo.
  • Orlando, Fla.
  • Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Miami, Fla.
  • Kansas City, Mo.
  • Fresno, Calif.
  • Tampa, Fla.
  • Minneapolis, Minn.
  • San Francisco, Calif.
  • Atlanta, Ga.
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Sacramento, Calif.
  • Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Austin, Texas
Meanwhile, Verizon will gain AWS and PCS spectrum licenses in cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Atlanta and Detroit. The big red carrier says that it intends to use this spectrum to boost the capacity of its 4G LTE network.

Via T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless