AT&T snags 700 MHz and AWS spectrum licenses from cable firm BendBroadband for LTE

AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) bolstered its 700 MHz and AWS spectrum holdings by moving to acquire a handful of licenses from Oregon cable company BendBroadband, and AT&T intends to use the airwaves to add capacity to its LTE networks.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The licenses include two 20 MHz licenses for 1.7/2.1 GHz AWS spectrum and one 10 MHz license for 700 MHz B Block spectrum in rural Oregon. In a filing with the FCC, AT&T said it intends to use the spectrum "to achieve greater operational efficiencies and offer improved, more robust and advanced services to meet the needs of new and existing subscribers." AT&T said the spectrum will allow it to deploy its LTE network in the areas covered by the licenses, "and will increase network capacity to the benefit of all AT&T subscribers."

The deal is the latest between AT&T and a cable company for spectrum. Earlier this month AT&T filed to acquire AWS spectrum from Phoenix, Ariz.-based cable MSO Cable One. Cable One would sell 20 MHz of AWS A Block spectrum to AT&T in 24 cellular market areas in various states, according to the FCC.

AT&T has been on a tear to add more spectrum to its reserves. In January, AT&T announced it had purchased 49 AWS spectrum licenses from Aloha Partners II, L.P. The carrier didn't disclose the financial terms of the agreement, but said the licenses cover nearly 50 million people in 14 states--California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas.

Further, AT&T will significantly increase its spectrum holdings, especially of AWS spectrum, when it completes its deal for Leap Wireless (NASDAQ:LEAP), which is expected before the end of the first quarter. Both T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) and Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) are deploying LTE service on AWS spectrum.

BendBroadband just informed customers that it will shutter its LTE-based wireless broadband and phone service no later than July 25, 2014. BendBroadband pledged to provide an update to customers in coming days with alternative broadband service providers.

For more:
- see this AT&T public interest statement (PDF)
- see this FCC page

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