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AT&T to Acquire Wireless Licenses From Qualcomm for $1.93 Billion

2010-12-20 09:21 by
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AT&T Inc., the second-largest U.S. mobile-phone carrier, agreed to buy wireless spectrum from Qualcomm Inc. for $1.93 billion as customers increasingly use bandwidth-hogging services such as video downloads.

The spectrum, in the lower 700 megahertz frequency band, covers 300 million people in the U.S., the companies said today in a statement. Chipmaker Qualcomm had acquired the spectrum for its mobile-TV service, which it plans to shut down in March.

AT&T, which competes against larger mobile rival Verizon Wireless, is upgrading its third-generation network to allow for higher speeds while it works on building out its fourth- generation network to debut next year. The spectrum will help AT&T alleviate network-congestion problems such as those experienced by its customers who use Apple Inc.' iPhone, said Craig Moffett, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.

"This is very high-quality spectrum," said New York-based Moffett, who rates AT&T shares "market perform." "It's especially concentrated in the urban areas. It provides a very strong signal inside buildings and it's extremely good at penetrating walls and windows."

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