AT&T (Dallas, TX, USA) and Qualcomm Incorporated (San Diego, CA, USA) announced today that AT&T has agreed to purchase spectrum licenses in the lower 700 MHz frequency band from Qualcomm for $1.925 billion. The bold move will boost AT&T’s anticipated 4G mobile broadband rollout in the U.S. over the coming years.
Qualcomm currently uses the licenses to support the service business of FLO TV Incorporated, a wholly owned subsidiary of Qualcomm, and the sale follows Qualcomm’s previously announced plan to evaluate strategic options for the FLO TV business. Qualcomm expects that the FLO TV business and network will be shut down in March 2011.
The spectrum covers more than 300 million people total nationwide: 12 MHz of lower 700 MHz D and E block spectrum covers more than 70 million people in five of the top 15 U.S. metropolitan areas (New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Francisco), 6 MHz of Lower 700 MHz D block spectrum covers more than 230 million people across the rest of the U.S.
AT&T intends to deploy this spectrum as supplemental downlink, using carrier aggregation technology. The company expects to begin deploying this spectrum once compatible handsets and network equipment are developed.
Completion of the spectrum transaction is subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including approval by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission and clearance from the U.S. Department of Justice. Qualcomm and AT&T anticipate closing the sale during the second half of calendar 2011. The proceeds will be received at closing.