As much as T-Mobile wants to be an “uncarrier,” its network still depends on precious wireless spectrum. Now, the company is gearing up for its next big spectrum purchase.
T-Mobile announced yesterday that it’s planning to sell around $1.8 million worth of stock (66.15 million common shares), the proceeds of which will be used to snap up more spectrum, Bloomberg reports.
It’s not clear when and where T-Mobile will actually get the spectrum, though. The carrier could potentially participate in an auction for Lightsquared’s spectrum, a failed wireless company that filed for bankruptcy last year, set to take place in a few months. T-Mobile could also be preparing for an FCC auction of broadcast TV spectrum, which could occur later next year.
Additional spectrum could help T-Mobile expand its network and make it stronger in dense areas. The company just announced that its LTE network now covers 203 million people. From my experience in New York City, its network often has trouble penetrating thick walls, something that more spectrum could easily solve.
After AT&T’s potential acquisition fell through, T-Mobile received a swath of spectrum that allowed it to roll out its 4G LTE network quickly (on top of a handy roaming agreement and $3 billion in cash for T-Mo parent company Deutsche Telekom).
The steady rise of customers is a sign that T-Mobile’s “uncarrier” moves are paying off. This year the company announced that it is killing off service contracts, and it followed that up with some industry-shifting reveals like its early upgrade program, free international roaming, and free mobile data for tablets. AT&T and Verizon were forced to follow suit with their own early upgrade programs, so it’s clear that T-Mobile is influencing its competitors with these seemingly crazy changes.