AT&T Finalizes Buy of Add'l Spectrum for 4G Network
AT&T this week announced that it has formally completed its purchase of a block of 700 MHz spectrum from Qualcomm. The spectrum covers 300 million people and cost AT&T $1.9 billion. The FCC approved the sale on December 22. AT&T plans to use the spectrum to augment its 4G LTE network. Because the spectrum is unpaired, it is difficult to use for two-way services. Therefore AT&T will use it for downlink (download) traffic only, in combination with its two-way LTE network already being deployed. Although this should improve the capacity and performance of AT&T's 4G network, this configuration will be unique to AT&T, requiring phones even more unique from those of Verizon and other carriers. The spectrum was previously used for Qualcomm's unsuccessful MediaFLO service that broadcast live television directly to phones.