What better way to start your Friday morning than with some spectrum swap news, right? AT&T and Verizon Wireless announced this morning that they've entered into an agreement that'll see AT&T gaining 39 lower 700MHz B Block spectrum licenses from Verizon. In exchange, AT&T will be handing over $1.9 billion in cash and some AWS licenses in markets like Phoenix, Ariz., Los Angeles and Fresno, Calif., and Portland, Ore. The 700MHz spectrum licenses that AT&T will be receiving cover 42 million people in the following 18 states: California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming. At the bottom of this post is a full list of the 39 markets where AT&T is gaining 700MHz licenses.
This isn't the first time that AT&T has struck a deal to grab more 700MHz spectrum, and the carrier's CEO even expressed interest in buying Verizon's 700MHz spectrum last year. AT&T says that today's deal will help in its rollout of 4G LTE service, which is exciting news for the AT&T customers that are located in the markets where the big blue carrier is gaining 700MHz spectrum licenses. Of course, it'll be a while before AT&T can really do anything with these spectrum licenses since the transaction must first go through the usual regulatory hurdles. AT&T expects that the deal will close in the second half of 2013.
In addition to this spectrum deal with Verizon, AT&T has announced that it's selling a single AWS license to the Florida-based equity firm Grain Management and will also lease some 700MHz spectrum to the company in three markets. Grain Management is also buying some lower 700MHz B Block licenses from Verizon in the Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh-Durham markets for $189 million. Verizon will then be leasing a lone AWS license from Grain Management that covers Dallas, Texas, which is actually the AWS license that Grain is getting from AT&T.