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Qualcomm's $1.9 Billion Sale of Radio Spectrum to AT&T Hits Regulatory Delay

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AT&T's previously announced USD1.9 billion deal to buy a chunk of radio spectrum from Qualcomm has hit a regulatory hurdle after the US regulator, the FCC decided to delay its approval.

In December 2010, AT&T announced that it would be paying USD1.925 billion for the radio spectrum that Qualcomm had used for its failed mobile TV service. The spectrum in in the lower 700 MHz frequency band and the company said that it would used to boost LTE coverage in the years ahead.

The spectrum covers more than 300 million people total nationwide: 12 MHz of Lower 700 MHz D and E block spectrum covers more than 70 million people in five of the top 15 U.S. metropolitan areas - New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Francisco; 6 MHz of Lower 700 MHz D block spectrum covers more than 230 million people across the rest of the USA.

The cause of the delay is due to the ongoing plans for AT&T to merge with T-Mobile USA, which the regulator said in a letter raises " a number of related issues". The main concerns appear to be related to AT&T's aggregation of spectrum throughout the nation, particularly in overlapping areas.

The FCC said that the best way to determine whether either or both of the proposed transactions serve the public interest is to consider them in a coordinated manner - although it reserved the right to split them back into separate transactions later.

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Tags: at&t  qualcomm  fcc  radio spectrum  USA