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5G

AT&T to Flash $1.6B for Straight Path 5G Spectrum

The next shoe in AT&T's campaign to grab 39GHz and 28GHz spectrum for potential 5G use has dropped, with Ma Bell revealing that it will offer $1.25 billion to buy Straight Path on Monday morning.

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) says it will offer $95.63 per share for the acquisition, a premium of 162% over Straight Path Communications Inc. 's close of $36.48 on Friday. The all-stock merger should close within 12 months, subject to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) review.

In January, the FCC told Straight Path that it had to pay a $15 million fine and had a year to sell off its holdings of 39GHz and 28GHz spectrum after accusing the company of "spectrum squatting." Under Monday's deal -- valued at $1.6 billion in total -- AT&T will cover Straight Path's liabilities and remittances to the FCC.

Straight Path CEO Davidi Jonas said publicly in January that Straight Path still holds 95% of the 39GHz licenses commercially available. This translates to 620MHz of the spectrum across the top 30 markets in the US, with 175 million PoPs across the country.


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The CEO has also said that Straight Path's 28GHz licenses cover major cities like New York City.

After AT&T bought mobile backhaul provider Fiber Tower in February for an undisclosed sum, Light Reading suggested that Straight Path could become another 5G spectrum target for it or other operators. (See AT&T Buys FiberTower for 5G Spectrum.)

The Straight Path buyout will give AT&T much more potential 39GHz coverage than 28GHz availability, whereas rival operator Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) has bulked up on 28GHz through its XO acquisition in February 2016. (See Verizon Bags XO for $1.8B.)

Most of the discussion around high-band 5G prospects in the US has so far been focused on 28GHz usage. AT&T, however, began 39GHz testing for DirecTV video streaming over a fixed "5G" connection in Austin, Texas in February. (See AT&T Lab Tests DirecTV Now Over 5G.)

So the signs are that AT&T could look to 39GHz, at least initially, for fixed 5G in the US. In addition to the spectrum acquisitions, the FCC is planning to open up nearly 11GHz of licensed spectrum in the 28GHz, 37GHz and 39GHz bands for 5G usage at an -- as yet -- undetermined point in the future. (See Ready, Set, Go! FCC Votes for First 5G Spectrum.)

AT&T and Verizon have both said that they expect to start providing 5G services in the US in 2018. (See AT&T Expects Mobile 5G Services in 'Late 2018'.)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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DanJones 4/12/2017 | 3:07:58 PM
Re: AT&T=39GHz 5G? Thnx!
danielcawrey 4/11/2017 | 10:45:29 AM
Re: at&t It has always seemed as if Verizon had the upper hand when it comes to coverage. It would seem AT&T is trying its best to make sure with a new generation of services and spectrum it is competing on a more even playing field. These acquistions are a sign of that. 
Jay 4/10/2017 | 10:56:46 PM
Re: AT&T=39GHz 5G? Hi

The SKT/BMW/Ericsson testing was done on 28GHz, achieving up to 3.6Gbps at 170Km/h.

-Jay-
DanJones 4/10/2017 | 7:39:52 PM
Re: AT&T=39GHz 5G? Have you seen any mobile demos though? I can't find any evidence of them yet...
DanJones 4/10/2017 | 7:36:43 PM
Re: AT&T=39GHz 5G? Ericsson was claiming it had demoed 28Ghz at vehicular speeds at MWC actually.
TV Monitor 4/10/2017 | 7:17:40 PM
Re: AT&T=39GHz 5G? nashafi949

"but it works fine on mmwave with thw WRONg vendors :)."

There is a reason why wrong vendors never demonstrate vehicular speed connection with their mmwave efforts, while only Samsung is demonstrating a mmwave connection on a racetrack at 90 mph.
nashafi949 4/10/2017 | 6:47:24 PM
Re: AT&T=39GHz 5G? There is a 4-6 db Pathloss difference between 28 GHz and 39 GHz and difference is less in dense Urban due to LOS issues.

No one is arguing that 39 GHz is comparable to 28 or any thing similar but it works fine on mmwave with thw WRONg vendors :).
DanJones 4/10/2017 | 3:23:55 PM
Re: Kudos.... Well AT&T covered their costs I guess, it would have been $100M if they hadn't made the deal with Ma Bell.
KBode 4/10/2017 | 1:42:00 PM
Kudos.... "In January, the FCC told Straight Path that it had to pay a $15 million fine and had a year to sell off its holdings of 39GHz and 28GHz spectrum after accusing the company of "spectrum squatting."

Kudos. Can't tell you how many stories I'm reading about this deal that somehow fail to mention this. 
DanJones 4/10/2017 | 1:26:23 PM
Re: AT&T=39GHz 5G? Could also have indications about the timing for the 1st FCC 5G spectrum auction, AT&T is buying up what licenses it can get its hands on, maybe concerns that the auction could be a while coming?
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