T-Mobile US Inc. said it would buy airwaves from Comcast Corp. for between $1.2 billion and $3.3 billion in cash and expects to close the purchase by 2028, pending approval from the US Federal Communications Commission.
(Bloomberg) — T-Mobile US Inc. said it would buy airwaves from Comcast Corp. for between $1.2 billion and $3.3 billion in cash and expects to close the purchase by 2028, pending approval from the US Federal Communications Commission.
The low-band 600-megahertz spectrum would help the No. 2 US wireless carrier provide more service to parts of New York City; Orlando; Kansas City, Missouri and other cities, T-Mobile said in a federal filing Tuesday.
Comcast said it has no need for the licenses while it uses a mid-band spectrum known as CBRS, and so is selling the 600-megahertz airwaves, according to a company post.
The FCC declined to comment about the Comcast deal. Market reaction was muted; both companies’ shares were unchanged at 5:20 p.m. in extended trading in New York.
This band of airwaves in particular is useful for T-Mobile because it can cover larger territories and pass through walls and windows more easily than higher frequencies. The first phase of T-Mobile’s 5G nationwide buildout also used the low-band spectrum.
“T-Mobile’s plan to buy 10 MHz of 600 MHz spectrum from Comcast in markets covering up to 149 million people will give it more control over network quality and add critical long-range frequencies,” said Bloomberg Intelligence senior analyst John Butler. “Spectrum ownership affords greater quality assurance than leasing, we believe, with Comcast keeping the right to remove some markets before the 1H28 close.”
Last year, T-Mobile said it intended to acquire $3.5 billion worth of 600-megahertz licenses from Columbia Capital to cover cities including San Francisco, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Boston, among others. That acquisition is still pending approval from the FCC.
Dish Network Corp. filed a complaint with the FCC to block the Columbia Capital purchase arguing that it would give T-Mobile more than its fair share of airwaves.
–With assistance from Todd Shields.
(Updates with shares in fourth paragraph and analyst comment in sixth paragraph)
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