AT&T secures approval for $2.5b cellular license deal

(Associated Press via NewsEdge) AT&T, already the largest US cell phone provider, won government approval to buy highly coveted airwaves licenses that cover 196 million people in 281 domestic markets, an Associated Press report said.

The Federal Communications Commission released an order approving the company's $2.5 billion cash buyout of Aloha Partners and its spectrum holdings, the Associated Press report said.

The licenses are in the much-sought-after 700-megahertz band that is being vacated by television broadcasters, the report said.

It is next to spectrum that is currently being auctioned by the FCC and has drawn record bids, it added.

Sixty-two megahertz are up for auction. The Aloha transaction is for 12 megahertz.

AT&T provides wireless service to 63.7 million customers, more than any other wireless provider in the nation, according to the company.

Aloha is a Providence, Rhode Island-based company that acquired the licenses in previous FCC auctions and in the secondary market between 2003 and 2005.

Except for two limited market trials, Aloha never used the airwaves to build a wireless network.