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AT & T's 700 MHz Acquisition Approved

Tue, 02/05/2008 - 7:10am
Teresa von Fuchs

Although AT&T could still be bidding in the FCC's current auction, it looks to have already won a nice chunk of 700 MHz licenses. The commission has approved AT&T's buyout of Aloha Partners, including its coveted spectrum holdings, which are estimated to cover 196 million people in 281 markets. AT&T offered to buy Aloha for $2.5 billion in cash.

Aloha owned 12 MHz within the 700 MHz band, acquired in a previous spectrum auction; it had two limited market trials but never used the licenses to build out a wireless network. Aloha bought the licenses at a deep discount, and as part of the FCC's approval, AT&T will have to make up for the discounted price, including interest, before it can complete the deal.

FCC Commissioner Michael Copps reportedly objected to the sale saying the commission's approval was "a rush to judgment," and that the transfer most likely will "reduce competition and diversity" within the wireless services market.

However, the commission's final approval declared that AT&T's acquisition would not "have an adverse effect on competition."

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