Thursday, December 1, 2011

Verizon Wireless to Acquire AWS Spectrum from Cable Operators

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.

"Spectrum is the raw material on which wireless networks are built, and buying the AWS spectrum now solidifies our network leadership into the future, and will enable us to bring even better 4G LTE products and services to our customers," stated Dan Mead, President and CEO of Verizon Wireless.

"These agreements, together with our Wi-Fi plans, enable us to execute a comprehensive, long-term wireless strategy and expand our focus on providing mobility to our Xfinity services. We're excited about this partnership with Verizon Wireless and the future innovations we will bring to consumers," said Neil Smit, President of Comcast Cable.

Comcast owns 63.6% of SpectrumCo and will receive approximately $2.3 billion from the sale. Time Warner Cable owns 31.2% of SpectrumCo and will receive approximately $1.1 billion. Bright House Networks owns 5.3% of SpectrumCo and will receive approximately $189 million.

  • In October 2006, SpectrumCo, a joint venture including Comcast Corporation, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Advance/Newhouse (cable MSOs) and Sprint Nextel Communications, was the winning bidder for 137 wireless spectrum licenses in the FCC's recent advanced wireless services auction. The price paid was $2.37 billion. Comcast's portion of the total costs to purchase the licenses was $1.29 billion. Time Warner Cable's portion of the costs was $632.2 million and Cox Communications' portion was $248.3 million.

  • The FCC's auction of Advanced Wireless Services (AWS-1) licenses in 2006 were for spectrum in the 1710-1755 MHz and 2110-2155 MHz bands .