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Spectrum

AT&T Says Aloha to More AWS Spectrum

A day after T-Mobile's $3.3 billion bid for Verizon spectrum, AT&T has announced a spectrum grab of its own. The carrier said Tuesday it has agreed to acquire 49 Advanced Wireless Service (AWS) spectrum licenses from Aloha Partners. (See T-Mobile Spends $2.4B on Verizon Spectrum .)

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) says the acquisition complements its existing AWS holdings and will cover 50 million people in 14 states, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

Terms of the deal were not revealed. It must pass regulatory approval, which AT&T anticipates happening in the second half of the year.

Why this matters
Speaking yesterday at the Citi conference, AT&T CTO John Donovan said that the carrier saw no less than 50% data growth in mobile data in the past year, and he said several times that AT&T "won't go back" to when data overwhelmed its network, circa 2007 and the iPhone launch.

AT&T has been pretty consistent about its need for more spectrum, especially since it gave up most of its AWS spectrum holdings to T-Mobile US Inc. when their merger fell apart and to Verizon Wireless in a deal one year ago.

The wireless operator will use Aloha Networks Inc. 's new licenses to bolster its LTE network, which Donovan said is practically complete, covering 90% of the US population or more than 270 million people across 500 markets. The spectrum complements what AT&T will gain through its acquisition of Leap Wireless, which operates in the AWS bands.

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— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

Sarah Thomas 1/7/2014 | 12:07:08 PM
T-Mo v AT&T Aloha very well could have been one of the other spectrum candidates T-Mobile had in mind for future purchases, but looks like AT&T beat it to the bunch on this one.
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