updated 05:40 pm EDT, Tue August 28, 2012
Deal intended to expand Verizon's LTE footprint
Prepaid wireless dealer Leap Wireless, operating under the Cricket brand, has finalized an expected deal to sell $120 million of AWS and PCS spectrum to Verizon Wireless in assorted markets across the US. Leap acquires 12 MHz of 700 MHz A-block spectrum in Chicago from Verizon as part of the deal. After dealing with interference issues related to the 700 MHz A-block license, the additional spectrum Leap has acquired will supplement the 10 MHz that Leap owns and operates in Chicago.
The spectrum acquired in these transactions will be used along with Verizon's existing 700 MHz upper C band spectrum to expand its LTE capacity. The deal is part of a larger plan to purchase $3.6 billion in bandwidth from SpectrumCo, a joint venture between Comcast, Bright House Networks, Cox Communications, and Time Warner Cable
"We expect to offer LTE services to at least two-thirds of our current network footprint over the next two to three years," said Doug Hutcheson, Leap's president and chief executive officer.
This deal is the first in Verizon's plan to sell its 700MHz lower A and B block spectrum licenses. More than 65 parties are said to have requested and received information on the spectrum sale. The carrier already sold off parts of its spectrum holdings to T-Mobile earlier this year, despite that carrier's objections to Verizon's larger spectrum purchase plans.