Last updated: August 3, 2012 - 8:00am
AT&T is to acquire spectrum from three companies including NextWave Wireless, which it will acquire for $600 million in cash. According to Federal Communications Commission filings, AT&T has applied for approval to acquire additional spectrum from Comcast, the US cable TV operator, and from Horizon Wi-Com, a small Miami-based mobile broadband company.
The acquisition price of NextWave, a wireless spectrum holding company, includes $25 million for its shares and an additional $25 million if certain conditions are met. NextWave, which was spun out from Qualcomm in 1995 and at one stage filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, holds licenses in the Wireless Communication Services and Advanced Wireless Service bands.
WCS spectrum was first auctioned in 1997, but has not been used for mobile data because of government restrictions designed to avoid possible interference with satellite radio transmissions in adjacent spectrum bands. In June, AT&T and Sirius XM, the US satellite radio operator, filed a joint proposal with the FCC that the two companies argue would enable the spectrum to be used for mobile internet services while protecting the adjacent satellite radio spectrum from interference. The FCC is reviewing that proposal. If approved, the company said it would begin initial deployment of WCS spectrum for added 4G LTE capacity in approximately three years.
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