Thursday, December 15, 2011

Verizon Wireless to Acquire 20 MHz of AWS Spectrum from Cox for $315M

Verizon Wireless will acquire Cox Communications' 20 MHz Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum licenses covering 28 million POPs for $315 million. The sale does not include Cox's 700 MHz spectrum licenses, the company's Cox Wireless customer accounts or any other assets. The transfer of licenses requires FCC approval.

Separately, the companies agreed to become agents to sell each other's residential and commercial products and services through their respective sales channels. Over time, Cox may have the option to sell Verizon Wireless' services on a wholesale basis. In addition, Cox expects to enter into arrangements with the joint venture formed by Verizon Wireless, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks to better integrate wireline and wireless products and services.

  • Earlier this month, Verizon Wireless announced a deal to acquire 122 Advanced Wireless Services spectrum licenses from SpectrumCo, a joint venture between Comcast Corporation, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks, for $3.6 billion. The transfer of licenses will require approval from the FCC and review from the Department of Justice.

    The companies also announced several agreements to resell each others' services. The cable companies will have the option of selling Verizon Wireless' service on a wholesale basis. Furthermore, the companies will form an innovation technology joint venture to develop technology that better integrates wireline and wireless products and services.

  • In November, Cox Communications announced its intention to exit the 3G mobile business effective March 30, 2012. The cable operator has discontinued selling Cox Wireless, its wireless phone service, effective November 16, 2011. The company cited he lack of wireless scale necessary to compete in the marketplace, the acceleration of competitive 4G networks as well as the inability to access iconic wireless devices (the iPhone).

  • In 2010, Cox conducted 4G LTE trials in Phoenix and San Diego using AWS and 700 MHz spectrum that it acquired at Federal Communication Commission auctions in 2006 and 2008. Cox spent over $550 million for radio spectrum licenses to support its wireless plans, which include wireless broadband. Cox said that while it is testing 4G LTE technology in these markets, it is initially deploying wireless services using the 3G CDMA standard in Hampton Roads, Va., Orange County, California and Omaha, Nebraska. Collaborating with Cox in conducting the 4G trials and testing the wireless services and applications were Alcatel-Lucent and Huawei.