While the AWS-3 Spectrum auction is in full swing with bids now reaching $42 billion, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless are turning part of their attention to other spectrum dealings, as they have both agreed to swap some more spectrum and are awaiting the decision of the FCC on the deal. While the last time T-Mobile was involved in a spectrum deal with Verizon it included them buying up a portion of Verizon’s then A-Block spectrum, this time around it appears that the two companies will not be buying up set portions or be letting go of any cellular assets or customers, nor will either company get any more spectrum than they already own, it will be a straight swap of the exact same amount for different types of spectrum that will benefit the other carrier.
According to T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless this swap of ASW and PCS spectrum will help them enhance their network. The petition is for the swap of spectrum licenses in 92 countries and/or 41 cell networks within the United States, and would see “each carrier gain the ability to hold larger blocks of contiguous spectrum and/or align spectrum blocks with those already held in adjacent markets.” After the deal is over and if the FCC approves it in the first place, T-Mobile would end up holding 30 to 102 MHz of spectrum in total, while Verizon would end up holding 52 to 127 MHz of spectrum in total.
Now that the FCC has received the request from these two carriers, petitions to deny must be completed and are due by January 5th. Come January 15th, oppositions are due, and a reply must be completed near the end of the month on January 23rd. That gives the FCC around a little more than a month and half to decide on the approval. In addition to the news about a possible 2nd spectrum swap between T-Mobile and the nation’s largest wireless carrier of the major four, T-mobile has also today introduced a new simple choice plan for families which starts at $100 a month for two lines, and includes completely unlimited everything. That plan follows the trend of industry shakeups and aggressive values that Verizon had earlier stated was a big part of the reasoning behind their expected negative impact on earnings per share in the most recent quarter.