T-Mobile and Sprint seem poised to announce their merger any day now, and according to network analytics firm Mosaik, such a move would make the new combined carrier the dominant spectrum holder in a large portion of the United States, comprised of many key strategic markets. Sprint holds more high-band spectrum than any other carrier in the US, and T-Mobile already had a robust network going before it bought up a large amount of 600MHz spectrum at a recent FCC auction. Together, they would have the most spectrum throughout roughly half of the map, including near-total domination in Nevada, Washington, Maine, and Alabama, among other states. Large markets like Tampa Bay, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Detroit, and Washington D.C. would all fall under the rule of those two carriers, and Sprint's high-band spectrum would do nicely to fill in T-Mobile's gaps in rural coverage.
Compared to how things currently stand, this is a vastly different picture. Right now, AT&T is the dominant spectrum holder throughout most of the country, ceding only about 20% of the map to Verizon. T-Mobile puts up a fight and manages to come out on top in a very small number of very small areas, not even including its home state of Washington. Sprint, meanwhile, is not even on the map. As seen in the maps shown below, the contrast is shocking.
T-Mobile and Sprint have been talking over a merger for many months now, and rumors have been flying about for even longer. At one point, there was even talk of T-Mobile using its newly rising status and revenue to buy up Sprint, rather than having a merger happen on equal footing. For the time being, neither company has released many details on how the near-certain upcoming merger will work, with that talk thus far limited to reports that there will be no fee if the merger falls through. The two companies both opted to not hold conference calls to go with their quarterly reports, hinting that the two will announce a merger soon. Executives on both sides of the potential merger have talked up the benefits of the two companies combining their spectrum. Major players in T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom and Sprint parent company Softbank have echoed those sentiments.