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AT&T's Spectrum Acquisition Spree Rages On
by Karl Bode 08:38AM Friday Sep 06 2013 Tipped by FastEddie See Profile
AT&T Has received FCC regulatory approval to acquire some $1.9 billion in spectrum from Verizon Wireless. The spectrum acquisitions bolster AT&T's spectrum holdings across some 18 different markets, while AT&T is giving Verizon some key spectrum to Verizon in the Los Angeles and Phoenix markets.

The acquisition is only part of a massive swath of deals AT&T has been completing in order to stockpile additional spectrum for LTE deployment (and, according to critics, to keep competitors out of the market).

While AT&T proclaimed with a straight face that the "spectrum crunch" would kill the company if it weren't allowed to acquire T-Mobile, the regulatory blockade on that deal didn't wind up being much of a problem for the acquisition hungry company after all. AT&T simply turned around and instead did more than 50 different acquisition and spectrum deals over the last year or so, without having to kill a major competitor to expand.

AT&T recently spent $1.9 billion to obtain Qualcom spectrum, another $600 to gobble up Nextwave, while pursuing 51 Lower 700 MHz Band B Block licenses, four Lower 700 MHz Band C Block licenses and six AWS licenses all owned by CenturyLink's CenturyTel Broadband Wireless subsidiary.

AT&T also struck spectrum deals with Broadband Wireless Unlimited for 700MHz spectrum in several markets around the country. This is all before you factor in their recent acquisition of Leap for $1.2 billion, their acquisition of Long Lines and their spectrum, or their $780 million acquisition of what remains of Alltel.

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Tavistock NJ

Getting TMO would have been easier

The deal with T-mobile would have been the easiest way to get the spectrum they wanted. But like any well run business, they had backup plans if their preferred plan failed. The fact their backup plan is viable doesn't mean their original plan was wrong.
"If you want to anger a conservative lie to him.
If you want to anger a liberal tell him the truth."


Re: Getting TMO would have been easier

Come on Tom. You know AT&T's T-mobile acquisition plan was more about reducing competition than anything else.


Columbus, OH

2 recommendations

Re: Getting TMO would have been easier

That may of been a part, but T-Mo also had compatible tech to AT&T and wouldn't of required much capex to integrate.

Houston, TX
...No, the fact that they don't offer a smartphone plan for less than $70+ a month is why the original plan was wrong.



Corr Wireless

It has not made the news on how much AT&T paid for Corr Wireless from C Spire in Alabama. I would like to know that one.

New York, NY

2 recommendations

Monopoly, sepctrum version

All these spectrum acquisition, trades, sales, remind me of playing Monopoly.

Bedford, MA

Re: Monopoly, sepctrum version

And Verizon and AT&T conspire to make sure there are no other viable carriers in the U.S.



They didn't get T-Mo. It would have created a spectrum synergy unlike any other, more than double the capacity of their network, and being able to run a denser HSPA+ network with more spectrum (70mhz in NYC for example).
Charlotte, NC
·Time Warner Cable

Not Cheap

If the Big Two and the two smaller wireless companies were making so much proft all the companies they are buying spectrum from would not be getting out of the business. They would also have a network that rivaled at least Sprint and T-Mob. Keeping up with technology and the increases in data demand is expensive. AT&T learned what happens when you don't keep up. From what I see they are finally getting their network up to speed with LTE to compete head to head with Verizon. Let the customer decide like they did when AT&T fell on their sword and Verizon kept building their network. Sprint and T-mobile had the same opening and they failed to take advantage for whatever reason to leave AT&T in the dust. The customer have picked Verizon and AT&T to be the networks of choice by paying more every month.

I think DSL has about beat the spectrum horse to death. You need to move on to what they are doing wrong or right now and for the future.

Fremont, OH
·AT&T U-Verse

Re: Not Cheap

AT&T doesn't need to upgrade all to LTE yet- they can wait until LTE- Advanced and move to HSPA+ with the same if not better speeds. Recent studies that were posted on here by Karl even showed that the HSPA+ network was faster in many markets and worked far better than VZW's LTE network.

By building a network with LTE now and then waiting another 10-20 years to even upgrade it again is stupid- they should use HSPA+ where it makes sense and move to LTE-A like other countries.