T-Mobile scoops Chicago 700MHz spectrum from Leap

26 May 2016

T-Mobile US says it has reached an agreement to acquire 700MHz A block spectrum covering 10.9 million people throughout the Chicago metro area from Leap Licenseco, an AT&T subsidiary. Additional spectrum included in the transaction covers a number of different towns and cities in the Greater Chicago area, including Chicago, Elgin, Joliet, Waukegan, Evanston, Naperville, Aurora, Rockford, Normal, Kankakee, De Kalb; Kenosha and Janesville (both Wisconsin); and Bloomington and Gary (both Indiana). The deal is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions and is expected to close in Q4 2016.

Upon closing of the spectrum deal, T-Mobile will have 700MHz A block spectrum that covers all of the top ten US markets and is capable of covering 269 million Americans – or 83% of the US population. Branded ‘Extended Range LTE’, T-Mobile’s 700MHz 4G network launched in December 2014.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database the cellco bulked up its sub-1GHz spectrum holdings in January 2014, when it bought a substantial package of 700MHz A block spectrum from Verizon Wireless for USD2.37 billion. Since then, the company has executed no less than 23 different agreements to beef up its 700MHz spectrum portfolio.