T-Mobile has been busy lately. Firs they roll out a slew of new features as an “un-carrier”, and now they’re freeing up capital. The aggressive carrier recently filed paperwork to sell off $2 billion worth of bonds, increasing their cash holdings by quite a bit.
They also sold a block of stock worth about $1.8 billion a few weeks ago, with both sales giving them about $4 billion in cash assets. Their recent financial statements show nothing alarming, and they aren’t expected to have any write-downs on previous transactions. Without the need for cash, this is a curious move by T-Mobile, but could be explained rather simply.
According to The Wall Street Journal, T-Mobile is gearing up for a spectrum purchase. While not much spectrum is available via auction, it’s believed that T-Mobile is positioning themselves to purchase the 700MHz A and B blocks of Verizon spectrum. That low frequency spectrum is a concession Verizon made when they recently purchased cable airwaves, and the FCC asked them to shed spectrum to acquire the new batch.
T-Mobile has what many consider to be very weak coverage, and while 700MHz won’t get you any quick data, it does penetrate much better that higher frequencies. Purchasing that block of spectrum would immediately add to their coverage in a big way, and it could call for all their assets in doing so. With spectrum in short supply, demand is at a premium, and we think pricing will reflect that.