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T-Mobile’s going to have a tough time fixing its biggest weakness

Updated Jul 31st, 2018 2:19PM EDT
T-Mobile Vs. AT&T Vs, Verizon Spectrum
Image: Asa Mathat | Re/code

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T-Mobile has had a ton of success over the last year thanks to its aggressive “Un-carrier” moves that have given subscribers more value for their money and have been imitated throughout the industry. However, the reach of T-Mobile’s wireless network remains a thorn in the company’s side and it looks like it’s going to be very hard to fix.

 RELATED: T-Mobile went on an absolute rampage in 2014

As The Wall Street Journal notes, T-Mobile got absolutely smoked by AT&T, Verizon and Dish during the FCC’s recent auction for AWS-3 spectrum. In total, AT&T spent $18.2 billion for AWS-3 spectrum licenses, while Verizon spent $10.4 billion and two entities tied to Dish spent $13.3 billion. T-Mobile, in contrast, spent $1.8 billion on licenses, a sum that dwarfs what its major rivals spent.

The AWS-3 spectrum isn’t quite the prime real estate that was up for grabs during the 700MHz auction that T-Mobile never even bothered to bid on back in 2008. So it’s possible that T-Mobile is just saving all of its financial ammunition for the big 600MHz auction that’s set to occur in 2016. That said, we also know AT&T and Verizon will absolutely jump at the chance to gobble up spectrum on that band as well, so T-Mobile has a huge challenge ahead of it.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.


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