T-Mobile USA set to buy $308 million worth of spectrum from US Cellular



T-Mobile just acquired MetroPCS to expand its network, but this does not mean Magenta is done investing. The #4 carrier has just announced that it is planning to acquire $308 million worth of spectrum from US Cellular to expand its 4G LTE network.

The spectrum covers 29 markets, serving 32 million users. It is no small deal, guys. It will help enhance both T-Mobile and MetroPCS’ 4G LTE in the Mississippi valley, where all of this spectrum is located.

The biggest markets at hand are St. Louis, Nashville, Kansas City, Memphis, Lexington, Little Rock-North Little Rock, Birmingham, New Orleans and Louisville. So if you live in one of these cities (or close to them), you might be getting a nice network bump in the near-future.

I say “might” because the deal is not completely done yet and has to be reviewed by the FCC and Department of Justice. We all know how those things can go!


Edgar Cervantes

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  1. if they cover 38221 i’m coming back.

  2. Yea Nashville!

  3. Don’t have LTE phone I have a nexus 4 I think they should focus on covering some of those areas that are stuck on edge

    1. I agree…. Tmobile is wasting BILLIONS in spectrum by not maximizing coverage in areas they already hold the frequencies. As a new tmobile customer I would really like to see them focus on maximizing and widening coverage in there existing markets opposed to spreading themselves even thinner.

      1. In this case – they are acquiring spectrum, so how exactly would they be spreading themselves thinner?

        1. Really? You don’t see how spending their cash on hand to purchase NEW spectrum opposed to building out their existing spectrum is spreading themselves thinner?

          1. Spectrum is limited, if they don’t get it when they can it may not be available, at which point expanding is pointless because they will never be able to keep pace with the carriers that do hold more spectrum.

          2. I do get your point, I do. However, like Daniel below stated.. TMo has to go out there and be a go getter for spectrum or else they will never be able to compete in the markets required to maintain the network, provide competitive rates for plans, etc.

      2. Usable spectrum is a scarce commodity, so it is in their best intrest to get as much as they can. If you don’t like this move, you might want to not look when the 600MHz spectrum goes up for auction in Summer 2014. That’s going to get expensive with all the carriers going after it. I just hope that Verizon and AT&T don’t end up with all of it like they did the 700MHz spectrum because it will really help out T-Mobile having a low frequency like 600 for their coverage. It can travel farther than their 1900 without degrading.

        1. It is an extremely scarce commodity. That’s why I would think they would want to squeeze every possible dime of use and function out of what they already own. I mean obviously they need to buy spectrum to improve areas they don’t have the spectrum. I just wish they would maximize their reach in areas they already have plenty.

          1. Personally, I hope they do get quite a bit of that 600mhz spectrum because that will be a much better frequency to operate their EDGE network on. The great building penetration and further distance traveled will significantly help bring their coverage to a lot more people. Using high frequencies like their 1900 isn’t condusive to this which is why they only have geat coverage in high population areas. Is it coincidence that the two carriers with the best coverage use 800/850 for their voice and 3g network and 700 for their LTE network? I think not.

      3. doesn’t tmobile already exist in those areas? Doesn’t buying this spectrum do just as you are asking them to do… “maximizing and widening their coverage?”

        1. I don’t know exactly what tmobile has in that particular area but to answer your question no its not doing what I’m talking about. I’m talking about areas where tmobile already has sufficient spectrum but they’re only using it to 30 or 40% of its capability. I’m talking about taking their existing spectrum and infrastructure and using it more effectively. Not adding more spectrum to under use as well. Maybe they are maxed out in that particular area but I can tell you for certain that’s not how it is in most cases.

  4. T-Mobile is great for large cities.

  5. Wonder what this sudden surge in expanding means for us in the US on TMos network. One minute they are looking to be bought up, next minute they are growing as if they have a pair and want to compete in the market.

    My only theory is the most obvious one; they want to stay relevant and keep customers so they are atleast worth something on paper. If they didnt expand and keep growing with current trends, they wouldnt be able to be bought as no one would want them.

    1. That and the cash infusion from AT&T means they probably have more money coming in from Deutsche Telekom to fund the expansion.

      1. Yea, but this isnt a very good business model in essence. You dont have anything left over if you go on a spending spree. Thats a living paycheck to paycheck kind of idea.

        Like Warren Buffet said: “You spend whats left over after saving. You dont save whats left over after spending.”

        I just hope if this is the case TMo doesnt end up broke and customer-less like they were prior. No one competing for 4th place is happy about it.

        1. They will have to spend to get new customers. You have to spend money to make money.

        2. Infrastructure improvements are hardly “spending”. It’s investing in what earns you money in the first place.

          If they were renovating stores that didn’t need it, or building a new headquarters, that would be “spending”.

        3. The biggest complaint people who leave TMo or won’t switch to TMo have is lack of coverage (outside of major cities). Buying more spectrum and building that spectrum out will only help them expand their customer base.

    2. Almost all their value is in spectrum anyways. Wouldn’t matter if their entire network was inoperable. That spectrum would still be worth exactly the same.

      1. Spectrum is usually where the cash is, but this is only if you sell everything off. No one is going to buy a cellular companny with no customers!

        It doesnt mean anything if I have a 15-Service Bay Auto repair shop if I have no customers!

        1. You are absolutely wrong and that was a terrible analogy. Anyone can go out and build 15 20 or even 1000 new service bays. No one can go out and just created new spectrum. Its a simple supply and demand issue. Tmobile could have no customers and an in-operable network and they would still be worth that of a small country just in spectrum alone. The bidding war for the diversity of their spectrum coverage would be insane.

          1. I simply meant that having lots of spectrum and no customers, or even upset customers still isnt a good thing. Having a viable business model in place and working for you will still make them worth more.

            They arent in the business of spectrum ownership per-say, even if its part of the business they are in.

          2. having customers and no spectrum is bad as well… look at how “well” sprint has been doing… Tmobile is great for large cities like the other guy below says. Its beautiful here in New York and i get faster speeds than verizon most days. So i dont know how improving their coverage is a bad thing.

    3. if you cant join em’ , beat em’.

  6. Specturm yum

  7. Current VZW customer with grandfathered Unlimited Data. I’ve thought about T-Mo, but their lack of coverage in the Memphis area makes it a non-starter. If this goes through, I may reconsider that decision.

    1. I live in the Memphis/Bartlett area and it isn’t that bad. Yes, I do miss Verizon’s 39dwn/21up, but T-mobile is ok. Verizon had to send me a signal booster (free bc we are here via a duty station change), so they were not feasible for me to keep. T-Mobile gives me H+ everywhere. Horrible on trips back home to the Gulf Coast, but ok here in Memphis.

      1. Good to know, although, I’m kind of spoiled getting 4G speeds all the way up in south Tipton Co.

    2. As of 5:30p on 6/30/13, I’m picking up LTE on TMo in the extreme northern portion of Cordova, south of 40 and east of Whitten!

      I ran a couple quick speed tests; I’m seeing a ping of mid-50ms, and about 13mbps down. I know that’s not top LTE speed, but it’s better than I ever get on HSPA+!

      I’m sure they’re only briefly testing it, but I’m glad to see that little LTE network icon on my Note II!

  8. So would this limit US Cellular’s expansion in these areas, more importantly the Kansas City area?

  9. No one cares

    1. I care, and so do lots of others.

  10. I think their hspa+ network is better than lte….their speeds are incredible

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