updated 05:20 pm EST, Mon January 23, 2012
ATT fulfills promise to hand over spectrum
AT&T following a promise it made as a condition of its since-dropped takeover of T-Mobile has jointly filed with T-Mobile to transfer some of its wireless spectrum. The deal will give about $1 billion in frequency licenses to T-Mobile in accordance with terms AT&T agreed to in the even the deal failed. T-Mobile is expected to use the space to fill out coverage and overcome a deficit it has relative to other major US carriers.
T-Mobile's senior government affairs VP, Tom Sugrue, hoped the FCC would "move swiftly" to approve the handover.
The one-time $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile was intended to give AT&T spectrum far faster than through traditional means. It also has unused spectrum of its own, though, and usually in frequencies that would directly help T-Mobile.
AT&T's buyout of T-Mobile failed after the Department of Justice, FCC, public advocacy groups, and other carriers all argued that no amount of concession could overcome the anti-competitive issues behind the deal. Along with the most conspicuous issue of eliminating the only other major GSM carrier in the US, the deal didn't fully address what AT&T would have done with unused spectrum.