AT&T gets approval to buy Verizon spectrum

The FCC agreed to allow AT&T to buy spectrum licenses from Verizon Wireless, which it was required to divest as part of its 2008 acquisition of Alltel.

AT&T has gotten the final "ok" from the government to buy spectrum licenses from Verizon Wireless , which Verizon was required to divest as part of its acquisition of Alltel.

The Federal Communications Commission approved AT&T's $2.35 billion purchase of the wireless licenses from Verizon Wireless on Tuesday. The FCC said the deal did not raise competitive risks.

Verizon is selling the licenses to AT&T as part of a deal it struck with the Justice Department. Verizon agreed to give up the licenses as a condition set by antitrust regulators in order to get approval for its acquisition of Alltel, a regional wireless carrier. Verizon bought Alltel for $28.1 billion in 2008. AT&T bid on the spectrum in May 2009.

As part of the deal, AT&T will get wireless spectrum licenses, network assets, and 1.5 million subscribers in 79 service areas. AT&T has also agreed to honor Verizon's previous agreements with smaller carriers and it will honor previous roaming agreements that Verizon Wireless had with other carriers.

About the author

Marguerite Reardon has been a CNET News reporter since 2004, covering cell phone services, broadband, citywide Wi-Fi, the Net neutrality debate, as well as the ongoing consolidation of the phone companies. E-mail Maggie.


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