AT&T announced another move that will bring the wireless carrier one step closer to offering 5G speeds for its wireless customers. Today, it revealed its plans to acquire Straight Path, a company which holds the rights to a portfolio of millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum. AT&T will pay a total of $1.6 billion for Straight Path.
AT&T says the acquisition, which is expected to close sometime in the next 12 months, will give the carrier access to 735 mmWave licenses in the 39 GHz band and 133 licenses in the 28 GHz band. The licenses will cover the entire US, including the top 40 markets. AT&T started its first 5G trials in Austin, Texas earlier this year, using its mmWave spectrum in a fixed wireless system, and plans to expand those trials to other parts of the US later this year.
The mmWave technology could allow AT&T to offer speeds at up to 20 Gbps for downloads and up to 10 Gbps for uploads for its users. Keep in mind that those kinds of data speeds are still years away from being available for every AT&T customer. A recent draft specification from the International Telecommunications Union stated that individual users must have download speeds of at least 100 Mbps and upload speeds of at least 50Mbps from 5G stations.
By the way, AT&T is acquiring Straight Path, not Straight Talk, the no-contract MVNO that’s co-owned by Walmart and TracFone.