AT&T, T-Mobile to swap PCS and AWS spectrum, including some of Cricket's former airwaves

AT&T Mobility (NYSE: T) and T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) are proposing a swap of PCS and AWS spectrum across parts of 10 states. In some cases, AT&T is divesting spectrum it acquired from Cricket provider Leap Wireless in March.

The companies did not disclose the financial terms of the transactions. 

AT&T agreed to divest Leap spectrum in 12 markets, mostly in Texas in Nevada, in order to win FCC approval of the Leap deal. The swaps between AT&T and T-Mobile include spectrum in parts of California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington state.

In some markets, the spectrum license transfers will "enable more efficient operations resulting from larger blocks of contiguous spectrum and/or the alignment of spectrum blocks held in adjacent markets," the companies said in FCC filings. In other markets, the transactions will augment spectrum holdings of the carriers, expanding capacity and thereby benefiting consumers, according to the companies.

Notably, in two Basic Trading Areas and two Cellular Market Areas, the deals are intra-market exchanges that will cut the amount of spectrum T-Mobile has. 

Separately, AT&T wants to assign 10 MHz of AWS C block spectrum in Washoe County, Nev., to Commnet of Nevada, a wholly-owned indirect subsidiary of Atlantic Tele-Network.

The spectrum transactions require FCC approval.

Such spectrum trading is relatively common in the wireless market, where carriers continually work to improve their spectrum position in specific geographical areas either through spectrum purchases in FCC auctions, through spectrum purchases with each other, and through spectrum exchanges.

For more:
- see these two separate FCC filings

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