As the three big carriers fight for the best 5G network, a constant snag lies in how much spectrum these companies can actually use. In order to actually use additional spectrum, carriers need permission to use it, since it’s highly regulated.
Verizon recently gained access to more C-band spectrum, which allowed the carrier to immediately roll out more infrastructure and antennas using that spectrum. T-Mobile is also working on getting spectrum — although this latest one might take a while.
T-Mobile has just agreed to purchase airwaves from Comcast. The agreement involves the acquisition of spectrum licenses in the 600 MHz band from Comcast, and while the actual purchase value is not known exactly, T-Mobile is expected to pay anywhere between $1.2 billion to $3.3 billion.
These airwaves T-Mobile acquired, which will add 10 MHz of spectrum (and 20 MHz in Nashville, TN), will allow it to improve its network in several rural and suburban areas around the country. Comcast got access to this spectrum during the 2017 spectrum auction, and it has now agreed to sell that spectrum to T-Mobile for billions.
The only downside about this is that customers will likely not get to actually use this spectrum any time soon. Transfer filings are expected to be submitted to the FCC in 2027, and the closing should take place in the first half of 2028. So you’re still in for a 4-5 year wait for T-Mobile to actually be able to deploy this. Whenever this acquisition does close, though, it will greatly benefit users.