T-Mobile, Verizon seek FCC permission for spectrum swap

24 Aug 2021

T-Mobile US and Verizon Wireless have requested permission from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to exchange a number of AWS, PCS and 600MHz licences. The Licence Exchange Agreement – which was signed on 5 August – involves concessions held by former Sprint Corp holding companies Sprint Realty, Sprint Spectrum and SprintCom, all of which were acquired by T-Mobile US as part of the Sprint-T-Mobile mega-merger in April 2020. The Verizon licences are variously held by bidding vehicle Cellco Partnership, Alltel and Rural Cellular Corporation.

The public interest statement notes: ‘These assignments involve only the transfer of spectrum; no network or other assets or customers are involved. The assignments are, in some markets, intra-market licence exchanges that will enable more efficient operations resulting from larger blocks of contiguous spectrum and/or the alignment of spectrum blocks held in adjacent markets. Most of these intra-market exchanges involve the exchange of an even amount of spectrum, where neither party will increase its spectrum holdings in the market.’

In 37 of the 42 counties where spectrum is being assigned to the T-Mobile licensees, T-Mobile’s resulting spectrum aggregation will be below the applicable spectrum screens. Verizon’s spectrum aggregation, meanwhile, will fall below the spectrum screen in 40 of 41 counties.