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T-Mobile has agreed to buy Verizon’s highly-coveted low-band 700 MHz A-Block spectrum for $2.365 billion, while transfering some of T-Mobile’s 1.7/2.1 GHz and 1.9 GHz spectrum to Verizon that T-Mobile valued at $950 million.

T-Mobile said the deal will result in the carrier controlling sub-1 GHz spectrum licenses in 21 of the nation’s top 30 markets and approximately 158 million potential customers.

T-Mobile US had previously controlled a 700 MHz A-Block license covering Boston, and with the new deal adds coverage to New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Washington D.C., and Detroit, notes RCR Wireless.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere said that the acquisition will give the carrier low-band spectrum covering 150 million people in major markets, and that more than half of the population covered will be outside of the adjoining TV channel 51′s range. AT&T is also working on achieving interoperability in the 700 MHz which makes the A-block licenses much easier to deploy.

T-Mobile CFO Braxton Carter said that the AWS and PCS spectrum it will transfer to Verizon as part of the deal will not impede its “ability to roll out 20×20 LTE to 90% of the top metro areas in 2014 and beyond.” Both T-Mobile and Verizon have committed to the AWS band for major LTE coverage, unlike AT&T or Sprint.

Perhaps this deal will enable T-Mobile coverage to reach parity with AT&T and Verizon faster than Sprint which is still refarming their 800 MHz spectrum from Nextel.

Sprint is reportedly planning to buy T-Mobile in a move that would reduce competition from 4 major carriers to 3. The NY Times editorializes against it on competitive grounds.

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