updated 09:35 am EDT, Tue October 9, 2007
AT&T buys more spectrum
AT&T on Tuesday announced that it is paying $2.5 billion for radio spectrum from Aloha Partners to expand its mobile wireless network. The licenses cover 196 million people in the 700 MHz frequency band, according to the largest telecom company. Last month, AT&T promised to unveil an upgrade to its mobile network with a six-fold upload increase, but those improvements won't include Apple's iPhone until the Cupertino-based company unveils a newer model with support for the carrier's faster service--something which Apple CEO Steve Jobs said is not expected until next year (when battery life issues are resolved).
Aloha Partners is and was the largest buyer of spectrum in the FCC auctions of 700MHz radio frequencies in 2001 and 2003. Since that time Aloha has also acquired the second and third largest owners of 700MHz spectrum. According to the announcement, AT&T purchased 12MHz spectrum from Aloha covering 196 million people in 281 markets. The spectrum covers many major metropolitan areas, including 72 of the top 100 and all of the top 10 markets in the United States.
The additional spectrum will help the company support greater bandwidth for voice and data calls to its customers.
"Customer demand for mobile services, including voice, data and video, is continually increasing," said Forrest Miller, group president-corporate strategy and development. "Aloha's spectrum will enable AT&T to efficiently meet this growing demand and help our customers stay connected to their worlds."
AT&T said anticipates receiving necessary government approvals and closing the transaction within six to nine months.