Amid 600 MHz rollout, T-Mobile to buy more 700 MHz spectrum from fixed wireless provider

T-Mobile recently alerted the FCC that it plans to purchase 700 MHz spectrum covering large swaths of Idaho and Wyoming, including Grand Teton National Park. According to the carrier’s coverage map, it currently offers spotty coverage in the area through an unnamed roaming partner.

The purchase, noted on Reddit, still requires FCC approval, and then T-Mobile would still have to deploy its equipment on towers in the area in order to actually offer service.

Silver Star Telephone Company “is using the Licenses to provide fixed wireless service to end user customers and will no longer provide that service on the spectrum under the Assigned Licenses following closing under the Purchase Agreement,” T-Mobile said in its public interest statement (PDF) to the FCC, a standard document for spectrum transactions. “The spectrum assignments will allow T-Mobile to deploy LTE service more broadly and robustly than is currently possible using its existing spectrum holdings in the markets.”

But the purchase is just one of many spectrum transactions T-Mobile has engaged in during recent months.

For example, in the carrier’s recent quarterly filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, T-Mobile said it entered into two different spectrum exchanges, each worth more than $100 million, during the third quarter. Brian Goemmer, president of Allnet Insights & Analytics, a firm that carefully tracks spectrum ownership, said T-Mobile’s spectrum exchanges during the quarter were with AT&T and Verizon.

Also during the third quarter, T-Mobile disclosed the value of its previously announced purchase of Iowa Wireless (“iWireless”) from Aureon. The operator said it will to acquire the remaining 46% of iWireless it does not own for $25 million, and that the transaction is expected to close within the next six months.

T-Mobile’s spectrum actions are particularly notable considering the operator spent close to $8 billion in the FCC’s 600 MHz spectrum auction earlier this year. And the operator is working to quickly build out that spectrum, having already activated some sites and introduced some phones with the bands included.

 

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