AT&T's set to acquire all the equity of NextWave for approximately $25 million, plus a contingent payment of up to $25 million. The operator has come to a separate deal with NextWave's debtholders so all of the company's outstanding debt would be satisfied for a total of $600 million in cash and a transfer of NextWave assets.
AT&T says that a majority of NextWave's shareholders have agreed to support the buyout. The deal is subject to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) review and possible examination from the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice . AT&T hopes to seal the deal by the end of the year.
The FCC still has to approve the deployment of 4G services in the 2.3GHz WCS band. The concern is that strong 4G radios would interfere with satellite communications in the adjacent band. [Ed note: Hmmm, where have we heard that before?]
AT&T is proposing to the FCC that it reduces the power of WCS equipment on the ground and uses the C- and D-bands of the spectrum as guard bands to fence it off from satellite communications. There's no word on approval from the FCC yet.
Why this matters If the deal closes and the FCC approves 4G service in the WCS bands, AT&T has a new raft of nationwide licenses it could use for LTE services. AT&T says it could start deploying on the band in about three years. After the LightSquared debacle, however, the FCC is likely to eye the proposed satellite interference fix carefully.
- Why's AT&T Eyeing Its WCS Spectrum for LTE?
- Big AT&T & T-Mobile 4G Buildout Ahead?
- NextWave Buys IPWireless
- Cingular's Spectrum Dance
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile