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AT&T acquires 39 spectrum licenses from Verizon to help beef up capacity

Verizon sells 39 licenses of its 700MHz spectrum to AT&T for $1.9 billion to help AT&T beef up its LTE.
January 25, 2013
In the United States, carriers have been racing to get complete LTE coverage. Verizon Wireless was the first to the finish line. They’re the only carrier that can boast coast-to-coast LTE. Even Verzion as room for improvement, though. To help themselves out, AT&T purchased some 700MHz spectrum from Verizon.

The deal will come to about $1.9 billion USD. While Verizon is focusing on AWS to continue to expand their LTE coverage, AT&T is still running theirs on the 700MHz spectrum. As there is only so much spectrum to go around, AT&T buying some Verizon spectrum only spells good news for AT&T customers.

The deal will affect a myriad of cities in a bunch of states. The 39 licenses aren’t focused in a single area, so people from Texas to Montana, California to New York will be affected. To see the full list of areas that will be affected by this, check out Verizon’s press release.

For AT&T customers, this can mean a few things. The increase in capacity in busy areas will help improve LTE coverage and speeds. This will also help AT&T expand into areas that don’t have LTE. Since the flavor of the decade is getting LTE everywhere, this is a good move for AT&T to help increase their LTE coverage area and strength.

Other than money, does Verizon get anything out of this?

Not from AT&T specifically, no. According to Verizon’s press release, Verizon will begin leasing AWS spectrum from Grain Management in Dallas, Texes. Where did Grain Management get the AWS spectrum? You guess it, from AT&T. Since AT&T is focusing on the 700MHz spectrum, they have some spare AWS spectrum to get rid of and Verizon will be using some of it soon.

As per the norm, the deal is subject to FCC approval. As The Verge’s Chris Ziegler points out, since it’s a pretty even deal among two giant US carriers, the FCC shouldn’t have a problem with it. Is anyone looking forward to more LTE coverage and strength from AT&T?