Updated: T-Mobile inks $533M reciprocal long-term spectrum lease deal with Sprint

T-Mobile disclosed a major new spectrum deal with Sprint that the company said stands apart from the two carriers’ plans to merge.

“In September 2018, we signed a reciprocal long-term spectrum lease with Sprint that included a total commitment of $533 million and an offsetting amount to be received from Sprint for the lease of our spectrum,” T-Mobile wrote in its latest quarterly filing with the SEC. “Lease payments are expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2018. The reciprocal long-term lease is a distinct transaction from the Merger.”

Brian Goemmer from AllNet Insights & Analytics, obtained the public interest filing for the transaction, which is available at the end of this article. 

A T-Mobile representative did not respond to questions on the topic from FierceWireless, and executives from Sprint and T-Mobile did not discuss the new spectrum lease agreement between the companies during their firms’ respective quarterly conference calls.

That said, Sprint and T-Mobile have already worked to leverage their closer corporate ties into agreements not specifically part of the merger itself. For example, T-Mobile said in April that it would provide Sprint with a roaming agreement for four years, and that agreement will survive in the event the companies’ merger isn’t successful. That roaming announcement stemmed directly from the companies’ merger transaction but is not directly tied to it.

Moreover, spectrum agreements among the nation’s wireless network operators are relatively commonplace. For example, Verizon and Sprint said they swapped PCS spectrum licenses covering locations in Washington, Oregon and elsewhere last year, while T-Mobile and AT&T struck a deal to swap 1900 MHz PCS and AWS-1 spectrum licenses in various markets across the country in 2015.

Sprint and T-Mobile continue to maintain that their merger will be approved in the first half of next year.

Article updated Nov. 2 with the companies' filing.