updated 01:55 pm EDT, Wed April 25, 2012
T-Mobile buyout of AT&T AWS spectrum gets nod
The Federal Communications Commission has now approved the AT&T AWS spectrum transfer to T-Mobile. The handover was the result of conditions AT&T agreed to after it abandoned its T-Mobile buyout following opposition from the FCC and the Department of Justice. The new approval means T-Mobile will get AWS mobile spectrum in 128 cellular regions, including 12 of the top 20 markets.
The approval means T-Mobile is well situated to launch its own LTE network in 2013, according to the smaller carrier. It's investing $4 billion to this end to modernize its network and improve current voice and data coverage. It already has, however, expressed the need for even more spectrum as it continues to grow.
Getting AWS spectrum won't help T-Mobile get the iPhone 4S, which doesn't support the provider's 3G bands. However, it may help for future LTE deployments given that most North American carriers outside of Verizon have used AWS for at least part of their LTE coverage.