T-Mobile has purchased more 2.5GHz spectrum to bolster its 5G network. The company acquired more than 7,000 spectrum licenses that should enable it to improve its 5G coverage and services in rural areas. It was the biggest spender in the FCC’s recent Auction 108.
According to T-Mobile, it spent $304 million to purchase over 90 percent of all the spectrum licenses sold in the auction. This purchase will help it expand 5G coverage to 81 million more Americans in over 2,700 counties. It already offers 5G services covering 320 million people across the country, more than Verizon and AT&T combined. Of those, 235 million people have access to its super-fast Ultra Capacity 5G. The company is targeting to cover 260 million with Ultra Capacity 5G by the end of this year, and 300 million next year.
T-Mobile spends a huge sum of money on acquiring more 5G spectrum
The recent FCC auction offered 8,017 spectrum licenses mostly located in rural areas. Of those, 7,872 licenses received winning bids. T-Mobile captured 7,156 of them, accounting for 90.9 percent of the total licenses sold. The carrier’s total spending of $304 million was distantly followed by PTI Pacifica ($17.6 million for nine licenses), TeleGuam Holding ($16.6 million for three licenses), Evergy Kansas Central ($12.7 million for 54 licenses), and Cellular South ($11.9 million for 38 licenses). You can see the full bidder summary in the FCC filings here.
Overall, 63 winning bidders cumulatively spent around $428 million in the auction. That’s far lesser than what industry analysts expected. Analysts were estimating figures north of $1 billion, with some suggesting the bid amount to total about $5 billion (via). But that didn’t happen. Such a low interest in this auction was likely because most big carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, and Dish Network, don’t operate much on the 2.5GHz spectrum. They have already spent big on other spectrum auctions.
T-Mobile, meanwhile, heavily uses the 2.5GHz spectrum for its 5G network. It acquired the vast majority of that spectrum via its purchase of Sprint a couple of years back. And as it continues to expand its 5G offerings in rural areas, the latest purchase isn’t surprising. The company is also building a 5G Home Internet Lite service with plans to offer home internet at every location where it has wireless coverage. So this purchase boosts those efforts as well.
“T-Mobile can now expand Ultra Capacity 5G and deliver even greater performance and connectivity to those in underserved areas, for customers of both its mobile and broadband Internet services, bringing much-needed choice and competition to millions more Americans,” the company said in its press release.