T-Mobile has geared up to buy Verizon’s A-Block 700MHz spectrum, recently freeing up nearly $4 billion in capital. AT&T is also said to be interested, and has as much buying power as does T-Mobile. Verizon, who agreed to relinquish the spectrum when they acquired another block, might now be selling. Reports now indicate that Verizon, who has to thin their lower frequency spectrum portfolio, might be interested in a trade.
Speaking at the UBS Global Media and Communications conference, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam hinted that a trade may be possible, though he didn’t say if negotiations were already in place, or if they had been approached otherwise. A trade between T-Mobile and Verizon did occur last summer when Verizon initially acquired cable spectrum, and this type of thing happens fairly often. When one carrier has a surplus in once area, they trade with another in a similar circumstance elsewhere.
T-Mobile has made no bones about their interest in spectrum. With a trade having already occured with Verizon, it could be that T-Mobile has more spectrum in another area Verizon feels inadequate, and would once again trade. Then again, the opportunity of trade doesn’t rule out a pure sale. A trade, however, would help T-Mobile utilize their recent cash influx elsewhere.
None of the carriers involved would comment on the situation, though we like the idea of T-Mobile getting this spectrum. While not powerful, it does add bulk to their overall coverage, which they are lacking in. It also levels the playing field for carriers a bit, as T-Mobile could add spread to their powerful LTE offerings recently implemented.