T-Mobile’s LTE aspirations get a boost with Verizon swap

T-Mobile USA is positioned to improve its coverage in more than a dozen U.S. cities following FCC approval this week of a deal that will allow Verizon Wireless to purchase and trade wireless spectrum in markets across the country.

Bellevue-based T-Mobile said previously that spectrum from Verizon would help it roll out LTE wireless service next year, expanding beyond its current HSPA+ network.

The FCC yesterday approved a series of spectrum transfers related to Verizon’s $3.9 billion purchase of wireless spectrum from a consortium of cable companies including Comcast and Time Warner. The transfer of spectrum to Verizon competitor T-Mobile was designed to address FCC concerns about that larger deal.

In its news release announcing the approval, the FCC described the arrangement between Verizon and T-Mobile as unprecedented. The approval comes with a series of conditions, including “commitments from Verizon Wireless to accelerate buildout of its newly acquired spectrum, as well as to offer data roaming on commercially reasonable terms and conditions.”

FierceWireless has more details and background on the approval. Earlier this week, T-Mobile announced a new unlimited 4G data plan, citing the Verizon spectrum as one factor giving it the capacity to offer that service.