Verizon and T-Mobile agree to share spectrum rights

Frenemies.

Verizon Wireless on Monday said that it has agreed to sell some wireless spectrum rights to T-Mobile USA and swap others, in a continuing quest to get regulators to approve a bigger spectrum deal it has worked out with a consortium of cable companies and another wireless carrier. Verizon previously agreed to pay cable companies $3.6 billion to license a portion of wireless spectrum currently not in use.

Several groups have opposed the deals, saying they would give Verizon a huge, anticompetitive advantage in the mobile industry. The deals would also create joint marketing and research agreements between Verizon and the cable providers. The deal with T-Mobile USA would improve the ability of both companies to offer fast wireless data services, Verizon said. T-Mobile, the fourth-largest U.S. wireless company, is particularly starved for spectrum compared to its larger competitors, and regulators are likely to favor a deal that would improve its position.

If the deal goes through, the Deutsche company will gain access to 60 million people in key U.S. cities, for faster new fourth-generation (4G) mobile services to serve data-hungry smartphone users as it seeks to up its game in the U.S. Over time, T-Mobile USA will spend a total $4 billion upgrading its network for  high-speed wireless services based on a technology known as long term evolution (LTE). Neither companies said what T-Mobile would pay Verizon for the spectrum.

Verizon Communications (VZ : NYSE : US$43.65), Net Change: -0.30, % Change: -0.68%, Volume: 55,990,574

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