AT&T has bought a batch of 700 MHz B band spectrum from Verizon Wireless for $1.9 billion in cash. The 700 MHz licenses will cover over 42 million people across 18 states including California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming. AT&T will receive Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum licenses in 5 of those markets. The spectrum purchase will ?complement [its] existing holdings in the 700 MHz B band and will allow AT&T to continue to deploy 4G LTE services to meet demand for mobile Internet services on a wide array of smartphones, tablets and other devices.?
AT&T is dropping money on acquisitions left-and-right. Just a few days ago, we wrote about how AT&T was buying Alltel’s retail wireless business for $780 million. Verizon is not losing out on this deal because they have been wanting to get rid of the 700 MHz licenses that they purchased during auctions in 2008. The 700 MHz licenses does not work well with Verizon’s networks, but it works well for AT&T.
AT&T has more than double their 4G LTE coverage as of the end of 2011, but the company still has plans to expand their network to reach over 250 million people by the end of 2013 and 300 million by the end of 2014. AT&T’s acquisition of Verizon’s spectrum is subject to regulatory approval, but the company believes that the deal will close in the second half of 2013.