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AT&T gains FCC approval for WCS and AWS spectrum purchases in 608 markets

News by Andrew Kameka on Wednesday December 19, 2012.

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The FCC has approved AT&T's purchase of wireless licenses from four different companies with spectrum holdings on the Wireless Cellular Service and Advanced Wireless Service bands. Details are not available for the price or closing dates for the deals, but AT&T has been granted permission to acquire licenses in 608 markets that cover 82 percent of the population in the continental United States.

AT&T is purchasing spectrum from Comcast, Horizon, and SDG&E; it also obtained licenses from Next Wave, a company it acquired for $600 million in August. The new holdings will be used to improve AT&T's LTE network, though it will take some time before they have any perceivable effect on the network. The FCC has just granted AT&T permission to operate its LTE on the WCS bands that are adjacent to Sirius XM satellite radio, so the carrier will have to build its network to ensure that there is no interference. It will also have to make hardware adjustments so future devices are able to access the new bands efficiently.

AT&T will use WCS and AWS as a way to supplement its network coverage in the near future. The company is already well on its way to rolling-out its LTE network in major markets across the U.S., but has repeatedly warned of an impending "spectrum crunch" that could make meeting the demand for data on mobile devices a challenge to match. AT&T has subsequently shown that it has enough spectrum to avoid a crunch for quite some time, but the carrier could use its new licenses to improve coverage in specific markets and be better prepared to meet rising demand.

source: FCC, via: Phonescoop

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Andrew Kameka
Andrew is based in Miami, Florida.

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