Sprint and T-Mobile will bid jointly in upcoming 600MHz spectrum auction
While Sprint and T-Mobile are in the midst of merger talks, and rumors are running rampant, the two nationwide carriers have also agreed to work on a joint venture to bid in the upcoming 600MHz spectrum auction next year. The two companies are said to be raising around $10 billion to bid on these airwaves, which are currently held by television broadcasters across the country.
This joint venture has been negotiated entirely apart from the proposed merger and is slated to continue even if the merger is stalled or ultimately blocked by regulators.
T-Mobile executives have been clear about their intentions to continue acquiring low-band spectrum to help the carrier with in-building penetration, even while entertaining the idea of further consolidation in the mobile industry. T-Mobile ultimately wants to keep all its options open, as US regulators have made it clear that they are hesitant about a merger taking place.
It’s less clear why Sprint wants the extra spectrum, since it already holds more spectrum than any other wireless carrier in the United States. Sprint is working on deploying 800MHz nationwide, although Sprint might be more concerned about making sure Verizon and AT&T don’t go grabbing it all up.
In any case, it will be interesting to see what comes of this joint venture, and if T-Mobile and Sprint obtain it jointly, how it will be put to use.[TMoNews]