Ina Fried

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T-Mobile, Leap Wireless Swap Some Spectrum, but Still Just Good Friends

T-Mobile and prepaid carrier Leap Wireless said Monday that they will swap some spectrum in a few cities.

“Pending regulatory approval, T-Mobile will receive spectrum from Leap in several markets in Alabama, Illinois, Missouri and Minnesota, and Leap will receive spectrum from T-Mobile in Phoenix, AZ and Houston, Galveston and Bryan-College Station, TX,” T-Mobile said in a statement. “Additionally, the companies will exchange spectrum in Philadelphia, Wilmington, DE and Atlantic City, NJ as well as several markets in Texas and New Mexico.”

The move will help T-Mobile as it looks to modernize its network and add LTE service by next year, T-Mobile said.

T-Mobile said that the two companies jointly filed an application for the spectrum transfer with the Federal Communications Commission last week.

For its part, Leap said the move would also help with its LTE efforts. Leap sells wireless service under the Cricket brand name.

“As we have previously announced, we plan to cover approximately two-thirds of our current network footprint with LTE technology over the next two to three years,” Leap CEO Doug Hutcheson said in a statement. “In addition the transactions will allow us to re-align spectrum in key markets into contiguous channels thereby optimizing our delivery of wireless services.”

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Leap and T-Mobile have been mentioned (along with many other combinations) as potential deal partners in the wake of AT&T’s failed T-Mobile acquisition. However, Monday’s deal was a fairly small-scale arrangement limited to exchanging some frequencies.

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There was a worry before I started this that I was going to burn every bridge I had. But I realize now that there are some bridges that are worth burning.

— Valleywag editor Sam Biddle