T-Mobile | Sprint PCS Spectrum Synergies (Maximum NR/LTE Channel Size) August 20, 2019 17:41
Recently there was an article in Fierce Wireless discussing the ability for Sprint and T-Mobile to combine their PCS spectrum for larger LTE channels. The article discussed a few of the largest markets, but we will use our LTE/NR Channel Analysis Module from the Mobile Carrier - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool to evaluate every US county. We will be determining the increase in the maximum LTE/NR channel size before the merger and after the merger.
In our tools, the analysis starts with the Spectrum Grid, where the ownership of contiguous blocks of spectrum can be seen, for each county. Prior to the merger, the spectrum held by T-Mobile and Sprint in the Houston CMA market counties appears below:
After the merger, the Spectrum Grid will look like this:
As you can see, T-Mobile increases their maximum channel size by combining the PCS-A and PCS-D channels.
This can be seen in a tabular format in the LTE/NR Channel Analysis Module before the merger:
and after the merger. Looking in the PCS (n25) columns, 20MHz is indicated as the new maximum channel size. For the map below, Houston will show a 5MHz channel size increase because it moved from 15MHz to 20MHz.
Below we have mapped the increase of PCS channel size for T-Mobile post merger. This only indicates if the maximum channel size will increase post merger, it does not indicate if New T-Mobile will hold additional PCS channels that are not contiguous with the maximum channel.
From the map, you will note that the San Francisco area, doesn't see an increase in T-Mobile's maximum LTE channel size. Because Sprint's spectrum is at the top and bottom of the band while T-Mobile's is in the middle.
All of the major carriers and USCellular have traded spectrum in the AWS and PCS bands to consolidate their spectrum holdings into the largest channels. Although Verizon and T-Mobile could exchange T-Mobile's PCS-A spectrum for Verizon's PCS-C, I doubt that this exchange will be made because it only benefits T-Mobile.