The FCC has approved a wide array of spectrum that AT&T had acquired in the last few months. With this new approval, AT&T now has licenses covering 608 cellular market areas in the WCS (Wireless Cellular Service) and AWS (Advanced Wireless Service) spectrum. This accounts for 82% of the US population.
The FCC approved the deal because it felt that the acquired spectrums would be beneficial to consumers and would not decrease competition in the industry. It also believes that AT&T would put good use to the spectrum that would otherwise have been underutilized. AT&T purchased the 2.3GHz spectrum from Comcast, Horizon, NextWave, and San Diego Gas and Electric. It also purchased more AWS spectrum from NextWave. AT&T will use this newly acquired spectrum to further build its 4G LTE network.
AT&T released a statement regarding the WCS Spectrum Order:
“The long era of dispute and uncertainty surrounding the WCS spectrum band is finally over. With the Order released today, AT&T will be able to complete acquisitions that will give it a path to robust commercial LTE deployment in the WCS band.
We applaud the FCC Chairman and Commissioners for their commitment to fostering innovative spectrum solutions that unlock under-utilized spectrum bands to serve the growing demands of American consumers. Repositioning the WCS band for LTE deployment is a significant accomplishment which will spur aggressive investment by AT&T and create good paying jobs across the wireless and technology eco-systems.
This is also a win for our customers, who will benefit from today’s Order for years to come as we realize the spectrum’s full potential to enhance our wireless broadband offerings.”
It will take AT&T at least 3 years to properly build its 4G LTE network with this newly acquired spectrum, so customers won’t see the benefits of this acquisition anytime soon. Nonetheless, this is a huge win for AT&T.