September 11, 2013
AT&T has closed its $1.9 billion acquisition of spectrum licenses from Verizon Wireless, a transaction announced in January. (See: AT&T Strikes $1.9B Spectrum Deal With Verizon.)
The deal gives AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) 39 lower 700MHz B Block licenses it can use to bolster its LTE network in 18 US states: Colorado, California, Idaho, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming. In exchange, the carrier has given Verizon Wireless Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum in Phoenix; Los Angeles; Fresno, Calif.; Albuquerque, N.M.; and Portland, Ore.
The deal closed around the same time that AT&T agreed to work with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on interoperability in the lower 700MHz bands. AT&T was staunchly opposed to support for LTE band 12 in its devices, since it operates in band 17. However, it did an about-face Tuesday by agreeing to support band 12 and work on any interference issues that could come up between bands 17 and 12 to work toward interoperability.
Why this matters
AT&T plans to reach 420 cities and cover 270 million people before the end of the year, and it's well on its way to reaching those numbers. At last count, it was in 397 cities covering 225 million people. Verizon's spectrum, in the valuable 700MGHz bands, covers 42 million people and will give AT&T more bandwidth to reach its objectives. (See: AT&T Close to 400 Live 4G LTE Markets.)
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading
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