AT&T to acquire NextWave Wireless for spectrum licences

AT&T to acquire NextWave Wireless for spectrum licences

AT&T has agreed to acquire NextWave Wireless for up to $50 million in order to obtain the company’s Wireless Communication Service (WCS) and Advanced Wireless Service (AWS) spectrum licences.

The move is seen as the next phase of AT&Ts plans to utilise WCS spectrum for mobile internet service having filed a joint proposal with Sirius XM to the FCC in June to open up the spectrum band.

WCS spectrum had previously been blocked for use for mobile internet to avoid possible interference to satellite radio users in adjacent spectrum bands.

The proposal, which is still under review by the FCC, has been described by analysts as a plan B for AT&T to obtain additional spectrum having failed in its bid to acquire T-Mobile USA last year.

Should the proposal prove successful, AT&T would be able to begin initial deployment of WCS spectrum for 4G LTE capacity in approximately three years.

Under the terms of the agreement, AT&T will acquire all the equity of NextWave for $25 million, in addition to a contingent payment of up to $25 million. In a separate agreement, all of NextWave’s outstanding debt will be acquired by AT&T or retired by NextWave for a total of $600 million in cash.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions. AT&T expects to close the deal by the end of 2012.

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