FCC Opens Comment Window on T-Mobile Purchase of Lumos

T-Mobile and EQT are planning to run the network on an open access basis, with T-Mobile an early tenant.

FCC Opens Comment Window on T-Mobile Purchase of Lumos
Photo by Compare Fibre / used with permission

WASHINGTON, July 1, 2024 – The Federal Communications Commission is taking comment on T-Mobile’s application to buy fiber operator Lumos.

Comments on the application are due July 12, with replies due July 19.

T-Mobile announced in April it would be putting up $950 million as part of a joint venture with Swedish investment firm EQT, plus another $500 million invesemtent between 2027 and 2028. The two companies would operate Lumos’s fiber network and transition it to an open access model with T-Mobile as the anchor tenant, similar to the Gigapower project from AT&T and Blackrock.

T-Mobile is one of the nation’s largest ISPs with more than 5 million subscribers to its fixed wireless broadband service, provided via excess capacity on its 5G mobile network. The company has experimented with fiber in 16 markets across the U.S.

“Those launches have shown consumer demand for broadband that T-Mobile cannot meet through its fallow capacity fixed wireless product alone, and many customers want the speed and reliability that only fiber can provide,” the company wrote in an April release announcing the joint venture.

Lumos Fiber currently serves more than 300,000 homes and businesses in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, according to the application. T-Mobile and EQT plan to expand the network’s footprint to 3.5 million passings by 2028.

The companies expect the deal to close late this year or early 2025.

T-Mobile and Lumos argued to the commission that the deal “does not pose any threat of anticompetitive effects” and “will aid in the deployment of broadband to rural and underserved communities who do not have access to fiber today.”

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