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AT & T Continues Dash for Spectrum

Fri, 08/03/2012 - 7:25am
Andrew Berg

AT&T appears to be on a mission to acquire more 700MHz spectrum, proposing a number of license purchases today in filings with the FCC. 

The carrier filed separate applications to purchase additional 700 MHz B and C Block licenses from David Miller, ComSouth Tellular, Farmers Telephone Company and McBride Spectrum Partners. 

The applications include 17 licenses in all, including 13 lower 700 MHz B Block licenses from Miller, two lower 700 MHz C Block licenses from ComSouth, one lower 700 MHz C Block license from Farmers and one lower 700 MHz Band B license from McBride. 

If all the applications are approved, the licenses would increase AT&T's spectrum holdings in markets across Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas. 

The FCC is asking that all filings in opposition to the applications be filed by Sept. 4, 2012. 

After its failed bid to purchase T-Mobile USA for its spectrum, AT&T had to get creative in its search for additional spectrum to support its existing networks while also increasing capacity for its ongoing rollout of LTE. 

Today's new filings for additional spectrum come the in the wake of AT&T's announcement yesterday that it has agreed to purchase NextWave Wireless to expand capacity for its LTE deployments using the company’s WCS and AWS spectrum. 

That deal is valued at an estimated $600 million, which includes an equity payment of approximately $25 million, with a contingent payment of up to $25 million.  Debt represents approximately $550 million of the total deal value.

Meanwhile, an AT&T spokesman today confirmed that the carrier has come to an agreement to purchase AWS spectrum from cable company Comcast and Horizon Wi-Com. Both Comcast and Wi-Com scrapped plans to deploy their own wireless networks. AT&T did not offer details of the deals. 

Comcast has agreed to sell most of its AWS spectrum to Verizon Wireless, pending FCC approval of that deal. 

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