T-Mobile USA announced a spectrum swap deal with Verizon Wireless, which will also see it buying additional frequencies from the US number one operator.

The deal is contingent on Verizon completing its purchase of a number of licences from SpectrumCo, Cox and Leap Wireless, and will also need approval from the US Federal Communications Commission and Department of Justice.

T-Mobile said the deal will improve its spectrum holding in 15 of the top 25 markets, both through the acquisition of more resources and the realignment of its existing allocations. It will enable the companies to create more contiguous blocks of spectrum and realign their holdings in adjacent markets.

The US number four player said it will gain spectrum covering 60 million people, in markets including Philadelphia, Washington DC, Detroit, Minneapolis and Seattle, in exchange for spectrum covering 22 million people and an undisclosed cash payment.

T-Mobile has previously been critical of Verizon’s spectrum deals, arguing that it was looking to acquire more licences while not fully using the frequencies it already owns, and cornering the market for LTE-suitable allocations.

Verizon subsequently said it would sell part of its 700MHz holding, once its SpectrumCo, Leap and Cox deals had been approved.

At CTIA Wireless 2012 earlier this year, Dan Mead, CEO of Verizon, argued that its transactions “show that we are responsible stewards of these high value, and extremely costly assets.”

T-Mobile recently picked up some additional spectrum from AT&T, following the break-up of its planned merger with the US number two.

Separately, Bloomberg reported that T-Mobile USA had received a second round of bids for its tower assets, as part of a previously-mooted sell-off plan. Names in the frame include infrastructure specialists American Tower and Crown Castle.