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AT&T completes acquisition of Verizon wireless spectrum

As part of $1.9 billion deal, AT&T announces acquisition of licenses covering Verizon's 700MHz B block, which AT&T will use for its 4G LTE deployment.

AT&T announced Tuesday that it had completed its $1.9 billion acquisition of wireless spectrum from Verizon Wireless, which it plans to use to strengthen its 4G LTE coverage.

More than seven months after the deal was sealed in January, AT&T announced today that it had acquired 39 licenses for spectrum it will use to deliver wireless access to 42 million people in 18 states. The spectrum, part of Verizon's 700MHz B block, which it isn't using itself, will be used by AT&T to further augment its 4G LTE deployment as it looks to broaden its coverage.

The acquisition covers spectrum in Colorado, California, Idaho, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming. AT&T said the newly acquired coverage territory will be included in its 4G LTE deployment, which it expects to "substantially complete" by summer 2014.

In addition to the cash, Verizon got AWS spectrum covering markets such as Los Angeles, Fresno, Calif., Phoenix, and Portland in exchange.

With demand for high-speed wireless access growing exponentially, carriers have been busy shoring up their spectrum positions, which give them the capacity to continue delivering services without disruption or bandwidth traffic jams. A bid to buy wireless carrier T-Mobile USA would have given AT&T much-needed spectrum to compete aggressively with Verizon, but federal regulators put the kibosh on the $39 billion deal in 2011.