AT&T Allowed to Buy Qualcomm's 700MHz Spectrum, Says FCC
The Federal Communications Commission today voted 3-1 in favor of allowing AT&T to purchase spectrum licenses from Qualcomm. The spectrum in question covers 700MHz airwaves that were once used for Qualcomm's failed MediaFLO live television network. The spectrum block covers 300 million people across the country, including most major metropolitan markets. The deal was first proposed more than a year ago, and AT&T will pay Qualcomm $1.9 billion for the airwaves. It will use the additional capacity to help support the downlink portion of its nascent Long Term Evolution 4G network, which launched earlier this year and covers just 15 markets and 70 million POPs. Of note, the FCC is requiring AT&T to offer roaming deals to its competitors, but it is not requiring AT&T to make sure its LTE network is interoperable with other 700MHz handsets. The FCC did say, however, that it will examine the interoperability issue between 4G networks and handsets next year.
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