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Qualcomm Sells Radio Spectrum to AT&T for $2 Billion

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AT&T has announced that it is paying USD1.925 billion for radio spectrum currently owned by Qualcomm. The spectrum in in the lower 700 MHz frequency band and will be used to boost AT&T's planned LTE coverage in the years ahead.

Qualcomm currently uses the licenses to support its mobile TV service, FLO TV, and the sale follows Qualcomm's previously announced plans to shut down the Mobile TV service in March 2011.

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.

As part of its longer-term LTE network plans, AT&T intends to deploy this spectrum as supplemental downlink, using carrier aggregation technology. AT&T added that the technology is designed to deliver substantial capacity gains and is expected to be enabled with the completion of 3GPP Release 10. AT&T expects to begin deploying this spectrum once compatible handsets and network equipment are developed.

In related news, Qualcomm announced that it intends to integrate carrier aggregation technology into its chipset roadmap, to enable supplemental downlink to address increased consumer demand for mobile media content.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions, and AT&T and Qualcomm anticipate closing the sale during the second half of calendar year 2011.

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Tags: qualcomm  flo tv  at&t  radio spectrum  coverage  USA