T-Mobile and WCO Spectrum have been engaged in an ongoing lawsuit for years over 2.5 GHz spectrum leased by the “Uncarrier.” When T-Mobile bought out Sprint, it gained the company’s multiple 2.5 GHz spectrum leases with several U.S. schools.
WCO Spectrum stands accused of using shady practices to undermine T-Mobile’s spectrum leases with said institutions by attempting to buy out these leases. As reported by Fierce Wireless, T-Mobile has been tirelessly fighting these potential sales and “does not want WCO as its spectrum ‘landlord’ for these leases.”
T-Mobile filed a lawsuit on June 2nd, claiming it “Bring this action to seek redress for Defendants’ nationwide criminal scheme to defraud T-Mobile US, Inc. and its subsidiaries out of an amount believed to be more than $10 million. T-Mobile leases the right to use certain wireless spectrum from educational institutions that hold Federal Communications Commission licenses for that spectrum” including a Right of First Refusal provision.
This provision states T-Mobile has 30 days to match a third party’s terms and buy the licenses from “bona fide” offers. The company alleges Spectrum is “formed illegal enterprise with their co-conspirators” and has made several “sham offers” along with “secret side agreements with these institutions whereby WCO pockets a kickback in the form of a percentage cut of the purchase price.”
The lawsuit alleges WCO Spectrum is intentionally making large buyout offers to the institutions in order to artificially inflate the payouts from the Right of First Refusal provisions. If T-Mobile buys the leases, WCO Spectrum gets a cut. If they don’t, well, T-Mobile doubts WCO has the funds to actually follow through with its bids.
WCO Spectrum has already bought a spectrum license from the Owasso Public School district in Tulsa, Oklahoma for $5 billion alone.
T-Mobile said, “WCO’s proposed offers to EBS license holders, when totaled, amount to more than $1.6 billion and cover 167 spectrum licenses. Even if WCO intended to make good on any of its offers, WCO lacks the capacity to make good on anything remotely approaching all of these offers.”
Spectrum has yet to release an official statement on the matter.