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AT&T Gobbles Up Nextwave Wireless For $600 Million
In The Process Getting Huge Stable of WCS Spectrum
by Karl Bode 12:40PM Thursday Aug 02 2012
AT&T today announced that the company has acquired Nextwave Wireless -- and the company's ample stable of Wireless Communication Service (WCS) 2.3 GHz spectrum -- in a deal worth $600 million. Those licenses could potentially cover over 210 million subscribers. AT&T is also gobbling up Nextwave's Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) licenses, which should cover about 60 million additional users.

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As we recently noted, both AT&T and Sirius XM have filed a request with the FCC that they be allowed to use WCS spectrum for wireless broadband services. AT&T has held WCS spectrum since 1997, but for years has been unable to use it due to potential interference problems with Sirius XM Radio’s satellite broadcast signals.

The recent proposal with Sirius XM solved some of the problems by creating so-called "guard bands" that would protect Sirius XM from LTE interference. Unfortunately for AT&T, Nextwave owned a lot of the C and D Block spectrum necessary to make the plan work. $600 million later and AT&T has their solution by doing what AT&T is best at: acquisition.

WCS spectrum can be somewhat finnicky, particularly with building penetration and indoor coverage. However, AT&T might be interested in some kind of fixed wireless play -- using fixed roof antennas like Verizon's Home Fusion. Both Verizon and AT&T are shifting away from fixed broadband (particularly DSL), replacing many of those lines with more profitable (and metered) wireless services.

Apparently, AT&T is very confident the FCC is going to open up the Wireless Communication Services band for LTE use.

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iansltx

join:2007-02-19
Austin, TX
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·Verizon Online DSL

This is a good thing

NextWave was sitting on its spectrum, waiting for a buyer. So even if it's AT&T who's buying, there is some benefit there.

My big question is whether this purchase will result in AT&T using AWS for LTE after all, after giving T-Mobile a lot of its spectrum in that band due to the merger breakup.

WCS will probably end up being used in a similar fashion to Clearwire's 2500MHz spectrum: capacity augmentation in a small-cell context for areas where 700MHz or AWS can't provide enough capacity. Maybe AT&T will do some HomeFusion-esque offering but I wouldn't count on it.
Sammer

join:2005-12-22
Canonsburg, PA

Re: This is a good thing

said by iansltx:

NextWave was sitting on its spectrum, waiting for a buyer. So even if it's AT&T who's buying, there is some benefit there.

Everyone including AT&T has been sitting on their WCS spectrum because of the interference with SDARS (Sirius XM) concerns.
iansltx

join:2007-02-19
Austin, TX
kudos:2

Re: This is a good thing

NextWave also had AWS in some places. That's more of what I was referring to.
25139889

join:2011-10-25
Toledo, OH
at&t offered Wimax before as fixed wireless. They did it in AK and if i'm not mistaken it was done in AR (BS) as well but was later shut down.
iansltx

join:2007-02-19
Austin, TX
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·Verizon Online DSL

Re: This is a good thing

Yep, I remember AT&T's WiMAX based fixed wireless service in AK. Sprint had Sprint Broadband Direct too. Those are all gone, however. I'd be surprised if AT&T got back into the fixed broadband business within the next couple of years, using wireless anyway.
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH
It looks like they're trying to get it up to full power by giving the satellite radio guys 5mhz on either side of their band.
Sammer

join:2005-12-22
Canonsburg, PA

Re: This is a good thing

said by BiggA:

It looks like they're trying to get it up to full power by giving the satellite radio guys 5mhz on either side of their band.

That's it, give up using the unpaired C and D blocks so that the paired (5 MHz + 5 MHz each) A and B blocks can be used. AT&T is also asking the FCC to consider giving them permission to use the WCS spectrum just as downlink spectrum while using something else (perhaps Lightsquared spectrum) for the uplink. Uplink spectrum is generally less of an interference concern.

Metatron2008
Premium
join:2008-09-02
united state

Homefusion?

What, aws+edge??
tmc8080

join:2004-04-24
Brooklyn, NY
Reviews:
·ooma
·Optimum Online
·Verizon FiOS

they're at it again?!

Oh, Hell NO!

»www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6q-6RroaJA

tellie

@comcast.net

nextwave

isnt this the same nextwave the bid on all the pcs spectrum went bankruptcy, got to keep the spectrum sold a chunk to verizon.
now this?

what a joke

NOCMan
MadMacHatter
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Colorado Springs, CO

Worthless for most buildings

The spectrum is pretty worthless in cities though. 700mhz is prime for building penetration, but these PCS bands in the Ghz are only good in tower dense deployments.
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tshirt
Premium,MVM
join:2004-07-11
Snohomish, WA
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Comcast

Re: Worthless for most buildings

This is what that spectrum is intended for, and is best used for
rural or semi rural point to point (ie fixed wireless) outdoor to outdoor shielded antenna (like the verizon the shielding/container keeps water /leaves/snow/etc off the face of a mini dish or flat panel radiator (water and water containing substances are the weakness of these microwave freq's. exact like satellite broadband but nearby (up to 40 miles line of site, less is even better) avoids 90%+ of the problems, without launching a multi billion $ bird.
Treated like cell service this could reach (most) house from strand or power pole mounted "cells" allow almost infinate micro cells.
homes over the hill /way out of sight of powerlines MIGHT need a relay or a differnt solution but MANY could see fast LTE speeds very quickly AT A HIGHER PRICE than city service.
an OK FTTP solution. and way better than letting Nextwave squat on the spectrum.