US telecoms giant AT&T has announced in an 8-K filing that it has agreed to acquire ‘B-block’ spectrum in the 700MHz band from Verizon Wireless for USD1.9 billion in cash, as well as securing Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) concessions in a number of additional markets, including Phoenix (Arizona), Los Angeles and Fresno (California) and Portland (Oregon). The 700MHz licences are said to cover 42 million people in 18 states — California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming. AT&T has said that the acquisition will complement its existing holdings in the 700MHz ‘B’ band and help it to extend its Long Term Evolution (LTE) network to 300 million people by the end of 2014.
In a parallel transaction, Verizon Wireless will sell lower 700MHz ‘B-block’ licences covering the Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh-Durham markets in North Carolina to Grain Management, a Sarasota, Florida-based private equity firm, for a payment of USD189 million. Further, Verizon will lease from Grain Management an AWS licence covering Dallas, Texas, which Grain is acquiring from AT&T.