AT&T Buys Qualcomm’s 700MHz Spectrum For $1.9 Billion – FCC Approves


With AT&T’s proposed T-Mobile merger dead in the water, it seems the company is looking towards new, less FCC offensive ways to spend their money. Enter Qualcomm who has just sold off their 700MHz spectrum to AT&T for use in its budding 4G LTE network. The deal has actually been approved in a 3-1 vote by the FCC but it doesn’t come without some fine print. First, AT&T will have to make sure they meet current interference requirements and second, they will have to share some of this newly acquired spectrum with some of their competitors for data roaming.

The spectrum was originally used by Qualcomm for their Flo TV service but was short lived. No sense in letting all that good spectrum go to waste now, is there? The agreement should go into effect by the end of this year. AT&T’s full press release can be found below.

AT&T* announced today that it has received all required regulatory approvals for AT&T’s acquisition of spectrum from Qualcomm. AT&T is purchasing 700 MHz spectrum licenses covering more than 300 million people for approximately $1.9 billion.

“This spectrum will help AT&T continue to deliver a world-class mobile broadband experience to our customers,” said Bob Quinn, senior vice president-Federal Regulatory, AT&T. “We appreciate the FCC Chairman, the Commissioners and their staff for completing its review before the holidays.

“As spectrum is the lifeblood of the U.S. wireless industry, we are pleased that the FCC did not reduce the spectrum screen, however, we continue to believe any changes to the process by which it is allocated should be subject to open and transparent public discussion and clear to everyone with an interest in ensuring the health of our industry.”

The companies expect to close the transaction in the coming days.

[WSJ | Electronista]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. No surprise. After that failed attempt to acquire T-Mobile, they need this spectrum to build up their LTE network.

  2. Step up Sprint. I want 30 mb/s on E4GT, dammit.

  3. dumb question but will this spectrum work with existing phones?

  4. Isn’t this the same as what Verizon’s LTE runs on? Could this possibly mean roaming with LTE, meaning nationwide coverage could come sooner than originally thought?

  5. Yea because it sucks

  6. Proof that they didn’t need to take out a competitor to get spectrum.

    1. That’s not proof of that. Also How do you take out a competitor who wants to sell?

      1. Why overspend when you can buy the spectrum outright and cheaper?

        1. Why not overspend and get dual link spectrum, instead of buying one way spectrum.

  7. Here is an interesting map..  AT&T had a pretty good chunk of the US, but had a lot of gaps.. this evens things up with Verizon with the “ability” to cover the Continental US completely.. whether either actual does that or not.. they “could”.

    1. very helpful – thanks!

  8. I thought Verizon owned this spectrum…how can ATT buy it from qualcomm??

  9. Sorry guys..Verizon’s LTE, although it runs on the general 700mhz frequency is not compatible with AT&T’s. Verizon runs on LTE band 13 (upper half of the 700mhz spectrum) and AT&T’s is on LTE band 17 (they also use LTE band 4 on the 1700 spectrum).

    In short..not cross compatible at all due to physical radio limitations

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