T-Mobile already has one of the most robust 5G networks in the United States, depending on where you live, but it’s not slowing down. With growing competition from both Verizon and AT&T, the carrier needs to step up its development in order to consolidate itself and keep its spot. It’s no easy work, by all means, but T-Mobile just scored a notable win as it agreed to buy some wireless spectrum currently owned by Comcast.
T-Mobile is set to acquire airwaves from Comcast in a deal worth up to $3.3 billion. Comcast is selling spectrum in the 600MHz band, stating in a blog post that it is unlikely to require it for its future plans. The acquired spectrum will cover major cities such as New York, Orlando, and Kansas City.
The company had previously announced intentions to develop a 5G network for its Xfinity Mobile service using the 600MHz band it’s currently selling to T-Mobile as well as unlicensed CBRS spectrum in the 3.5GHz range. However, after conducting 5G field tests with the CBRS spectrum, Comcast found it to be highly efficient and crucial for its 5G network, and decided it didn’t need this spectrum for its 5G network right now, thus opting to sell it to T-Mobile, who already uses 600 MHz spectrum.
The deal includes quarterly lease payments, culminating in a final payment of up to $3.3 billion to purchase the license. The deal includes a provision that allows Comcast to potentially reclaim some of those 600MHz airwaves in the future if it deems them necessary for their network.
However, the SEC filing for the deal also confirms that the deal is expected to close in 2028 pending approval from the Federal Communications Commission. It’s not clear whether this means that T-Mobile won’t actually be able to use the spectrum for the next five years or whether it’s actually allowed to use it now. If the new airwaves won’t be rolling out now, T-Mobile might be doing this for future proofing more than anything.
T-Mobile has previously used the 600MHz spectrum to expand its 5G network, initiating its low-band 600MHz 5G network in 2019, which now covers many parts of the United States. Last August, T-Mobile further invested $3.5 billion in 600MHz spectrum, highlighting its commitment to expanding and enhancing its 5G capabilities. This acquisition of Comcast’s 600MHz spectrum, then, will likely play a crucial role in T-Mobile’s ongoing network development and expansion efforts.
Source: The Verge