T-Mobile USA and Leap wireless said today they plan on exchanging spectrum in several markets in the U.S. to better improve the potential coverage.
The spectrum swap also includes T-Mobile, Cool Inlet/VS GSM VII PCS, a joint venture in which T-Mobile has a non-controlling majority stake, as well as Savary Island Wireless, which Leap has a non-controlling majority stake in.
The deal is just the latest move by the wireless carriers to improve their various spectrum positions. By realigning their spectrum holdings, the carriers can build a network with better coverage, and potentially, better service. The transaction also signals the broader need for more spectrum in the wireless industry.
"These transactions will enhance our spectrum depth in these markets and provide us longer term flexibility to offer a larger LTE channel," said Leap CEO Doug Hutcheson. "In addition the transactions will allow us to re-align spectrum in key markets into contiguous channels thereby optimizing our delivery of wireless services."
T-Mobile said the agreement would allow it to enhance its 4G user experience and modernize its network for future its planned LTE deployment.
The deal means Leap, which operates a prepaid wireless service under the Cricket brand, would get additional spectrum in Phoenix, Ariz., Houston, Galveston, and Bryan College Station, Texas. Leap and Savary Island are also assigning T-Mobile and Cook spectrum in various markets in Alabama, Illinois, Missouri, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. T-Mobile, Leap, and Cook Inlet will also exchange spectrum within markets in Philadelphia, Wilmington, Del., Atlantic City, N.J., and other markets in Texas and New Mexico. Leap and Cook Inlet will swap spectrum between each other in Texas.
The companies didn't disclose the financial details.
Updated at 9:55 a.m. PT: to include a response from T-Mobile.