T-Mobile to boost 4G network with $308M buy: CEO calls spectrum ‘gold’

t-mobilelogoT-Mobile is paying $308 million in cash to increase its 4G LTE network in 29 markets in the Mississippi Valley region, including St. Louis; Nashville; Kansas City; Memphis; Lexington; New Orleans; and Louisville. It is buying the 10 MHz of Advanced Wireless Services spectrum from U.S. Cellular, with T-Mobile CEO John Legere noting that “in today’s marketplace, spectrum is gold.”

John Legere

John Legere

“This is a rare opportunity to secure precious AWS spectrum in key markets that will immediately be put to use by both T-Mobile and MetroPCS customers,” said Legere. “This deal expands our network and capacity, allowing for a broader roll-out of 4G LTE and an even faster and more reliable 4G experience for our customers – in addition to spurring competition in the wireless marketplace.”

The move comes amid speculation that Dish Network could turn attention to T-Mobile now that it has dropped a bid for Clearwire, which was coveted largely for its spectrum holdings.

The agreement, expected to close in the fourth quarter, is subject to approval by the Federal Communications Commission and Department of Justice. T-Mobile, which now serves 43 million wireless subscribers, also announced a July 10 press event in which it promised to announce its “boldest moves yet.”

Under Legere, T-Mobile is looking to shake up the industry through its so-called “uncarrier” strategy.