FCC Approves AT&T's Purchase of Cricket with Conditions
The Federal Communications Commission today approved AT&T's proposed purchase of Leap Wireless and its assets, including Cricket Wireless. The acquisition includes 4.6 million customers, as well as spectrum, network equipment, and other assets, all of which will be transferred from Leap to AT&T. However, based on the FCC's analysis of the proposal, AT&T has to agree to a handful of conditions. First, AT&T has to divest some spectrum in select markets in southern Texas. Second, AT&T has to deploy LTE on Leap's unused spectrum within three to 12 months after the deal closes. Third, AT&T has to deploy LTE in six Texas markets within 18 months. Fourth, AT&T has to offer certain low-cost rate plans. Fifth, AT&T has to offer a device trade-in program for both smartphones and feature phones. Further, AT&T has to maintain Cricket's current CDMA-based roaming agreements for as long as it continues to operate the CDMA network. Last, AT&T has to divest ownership that Leap has in a competitive wireless telecommunications provider (if Leap doesn't divest them before the deal closes). As long as AT&T does all these things, the FCC believes the proposal will have minimal impact on the competitive nature of the market and will be a net benefit to customers who will eventually gain access to AT&T's LTE 4G network. Neither AT&T nor Cricket has said exactly when they expect the deal to close.
AT&T and T-Mobile Agree to Swap Some Spectrum
AT&T and T-Mobile recently filed paperwork with the FCC seeking permission to swap spectrum assets. The companies are looking at PCS and AWS spectrum in a handful of markets.
T-Mobile to Buy Chicago-Area Spectrum to Boost Coverage
T-Mobile today said it has agreed to buy 700 MHz spectrum from Leap in order to bring its "extended-range LTE" coverage to the Chicago metropolitan area. Specifically, T-Mobile is snagging A-Block 700 MHz spectrum covering Chicago, Elgin, Joliet, Waukegan, Evanston, Naperville, Aurora, Gary, Rockford, De Kalb, Janesville, Bloomington, Normal, Kankakee, Kenosha, and others.
AT&T's Cricket Brand to Cut Off Lifeline Service
AT&T recently indicated via its support web site that it will eventually discontinue offering Lifelife service through its Cricket prepaid brand. Lifeline allows qualified Americans to receive free or heavily discounted wireless service through Cricket.
FCC Greenlights AT&T Spectrum Deal
The FCC has approved AT&T's request to purchase two Cellular A Block licenses and microwave point-to-point spectrum from Cellular Properties Inc. The spectrum covers 11 counties and parts of two Cellular Market Areas in Illinois.
Aio to the landfill