AT&T to bolster 700 MHz war chest with new licenses

AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) hopes to add another two 700 MHz spectrum licenses to its portfolio, buying radio waves from 700 MHz L.L.C. The FCC must still approve the transaction.

AT&T hopes to buy two Lower 700 MHz Band C Block licenses from 700 MHz L.L.C., which is associated with the Northeast Missouri Rural Telephone Company. The licenses cover areas of Missouri. Terms of the deal were not disclosed; wireless carriers typically do not offer details on such spectrum transactions.

"The additional spectrum will enable AT&T to increase its system capacity to enhance existing services, better accommodate its overall growth, and facilitate the provision of additional products and services," the carrier said in its FCC filing.

The license purchases are the latest of AT&T's smaller spectrum transactions. For example, AT&T is hoping to buy eight Lower 700 MHz B Block licenses from Cox covering areas on the East Coast, including cities in Florida and Virginia. Cox paid around $28 million for the licenses during the FCC's 700 MHz spectrum auction in 2008. AT&T is also working to purchase four Lower 700 MHz C Block licenses from Peoples Telephone Cooperative covering locations mainly in Texas.

AT&T is using 700 MHz spectrum for its LTE network. The carrier last year attempted to purchase T-Mobile USA for $39 billion, largely to add capacity to its LTE efforts. But the transaction was struck down by regulators worried about the size and strength of a combined AT&T and T-Mobile. Thus, AT&T has been focusing on smaller spectrum transactions to boost its 700 MHz holdings.

For more:
- see this FCC filing (PDF)

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