Wireless firms say deal boosts speeds
New York - Verizon Wireless on Monday said that it has agreed to sell some wireless spectrum rights to T-Mobile USA and swap others, in a continuing quest to get regulators to approve a bigger spectrum deal it has worked out with a consortium of cable companies and another wireless carrier.
The deal with T-Mobile USA would improve the ability of both companies to offer fast wireless data services, Verizon said. T-Mobile, the fourth-largest U.S. wireless companies, is particularly starved for spectrum compared to its larger competitors, and regulators are likely to favor a deal that would improve its position.
Neither T-Mobile nor Verizon said what T-Mobile would pay Verizon for the spectrum.
The Verizon-T-Mobile deal is contingent on Verizon getting government approval for three deals to buy spectrum from cable companies and Leap Wireless for a total of about $4 billion. Those deals were struck in November and December, but have met resistance from public-interest groups who say the cellphone company, already the nation's largest, doesn't need more spectrum and shouldn't be cozying up to competitors such as the cable companies.
T-Mobile had also opposed the Verizon-cable deals, saying they would place an "excessive concentration" of spectrum in Verizon's hands. Verizon is the largest cellphone company in the country, and has a relatively strong spectrum position already.
Cellphone companies need spectrum rights to do business much like radio stations. With the growth of data use, cellphone companies have a newfound need for more spectrum. The amount of spectrum they have available in any area determines the maximum download speeds they can offer.`