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Verizon, T-Mobile swap spectrum for mutual LTE growth

The Big Four’s largest and smallest carriers strike a deal for AWS spectrum.


Verizon's imposing booth at CES 2012

To grow its dominating LTE network, Verizon needs a litte help from its friends.

Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA may seem an unlikely duo, but the largest and smallest of the Big Four carriers are coming together, just this once. The two inked a deal to exchange spectrum in the AWS band, a stepping stone for both in their mutual quest for LTE network growth.

Both T-Mobile and Verizon say that the transfer of the specific bands will help each one fix an AWS problem. In this case, the “transfer” also includes an outright sale of Verizon’s AWS to T-Mobile in exchange for cold, hard cash.

“The AWS licenses we’ll acquire from T-Mobile and through SpectrumCo, Cox and Leap will be used to add capacity to our 4G LTE network,” Verizon’s president and CEO of Verizon Wireless, Dan Mead, said in a statement.

Verizon and T-Mobile aren’t disclosing the details.

At this stage, the plan is more an intention than a done deal, since Verizon’s go-ahead is contingent upon transactions already in the works with Cox, Leap, and SpectrumCo. In addition, the FCC will have to sign off on the transaction later this summer for it to proceed apace.

Verizon leads the LTE network race by a long shot in terms of coverage and strength, but is leaning hard on deals with cable partners to sustain its rapid growth and supply customers with a steady stream of ultrafast bandwidth. T-Mobile, on the other hand, has yet to launch its first LTE market. Verizon’s contribution is a critical stepping stone for it to stay in the game.

Verizon, T-Mobile swap spectrum for mutual LTE growth

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