AT&T has announced a deal with Verizon Wireless that will allow the company to continue to build out its 4G LTE network in the U.S., through the acquisition of 700 MHz spectrum from Verizon Wireless. The 700 MHz band was originally used to broadcast analog TV channels, but the transition to digital TV made them available for auction in 2008. Verizon won Block A during that auction, along with U.S. Cellular, with licenses covering urban areas, while AT&T was the biggest buyer of Block B, acquiring 227 licenses in the sale.
AT&T uses the 700 MHz spectrum to provide 4G LTE coverage to its customers in the U.S., along with spectrum in the AWS band. As part of the deal, it is providing licenses of the AWS spectrum in several markets, including LA, Fresno and Portland, to Verizon for use in the continued deployment of its network. AT&T’s spectrum acquisition will allow it to deploy LTE covering 42 million people across 18 states, the company said in a press release.
Verizon revealed its intention to divest itself of extra 700 MHz licenses it picked up in the auction back in 2008 in April 2012. It acquired 127 licenses in Block B, which are the ones involved in this sale. The company had held onto the block B licenses to provide supplemental coverage in urban areas before it had acquired other licenses it needed to fill in those gaps in its nationwide network, and it makes sense for AT&T to pick these up, since they’re exactly what that carrier needs to continue to roll out its own LTE network.
Full release below.
AT&T Agrees to Acquire 700 MHz Spectrum from Verizon Wireless
Dallas, Texas, January 25, 2013
AT&T* announced in an 8-K filing today that it has agreed to acquire spectrum in the 700 MHz B band from Verizon Wireless for $1.9 billion in cash and Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum licenses in several markets, including Phoenix, Ariz., Los Angeles and Fresno, Calif. and Portland, Ore.
The 700 MHz licenses to be acquired by AT&T cover 42 million people in 18 states — California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.
This acquisition complements AT&T’s existing holdings in the 700 MHz B band and will allow AT&T to continue to quickly deploy 4G LTE services to meet demand for mobile Internet services on a wide array of smartphones, tablets and other devices. The company announced in November 2012 that it plans to reach 300 million people in the U.S. with its 4G LTE network by the end of 2014.
In conjunction with this transaction, AT&T will sell to Grain Management a single AWS license and will lease 700 MHz spectrum from Grain Management in three markets.
The transaction is subject to regulatory approval. AT&T anticipates closing the transaction in the second half of 2013.
*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.
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