US mobile operator Leap Wireless has announced that it has completed an exchange of radio spectrum in various markets with T-Mobile USA, in a bid to improve wireless coverage in certain areas. The deal also involves Cook Inlet/VS GSM VII PCS, a joint venture between T-Mobile and Cook Inlet, a company in which T-Mobile has a non-controlling majority interest, as well as Leap’s non-controlled, majority-owned venture Savary Island Wireless. Under the transaction agreements, Leap acquired 10MHz of additional AWS spectrum in Phoenix, Arizona and Houston, Galveston and Bryan-College Station (all Texas) to supplement its existing spectrum in those markets. In exchange, Leap and Savary Island assigned T-Mobile and Cook Inlet spectrum in parts of Alabama, Illinois, Missouri, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The transactions also included intra-market exchanges between Leap and T-Mobile in Philadelphia, Wilmington, Atlantic City and various markets in New Mexico and Texas, and between Leap and Cook Inlet in certain markets in Texas. ‘The closing of these agreements will allow us to enhance the delivery of our wireless services in key markets through the realignment of spectrum,’ said Doug Hutcheson, Leap’s president and CEO, adding: ‘In addition, we now have added depth to our spectrum in select markets providing us with longer term flexibility to offer a larger Long Term Evolution (LTE) channel.’ Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
In a separate development, Leap has announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary Cricket Communications has completed the acquisition of the remaining 15% controlling membership interest that it did not own in Savary Island for approximately USD5.3 million in cash. As a result of the acquisition, Savary Island and its subsidiaries became wholly-owned subsidiaries of Cricket.