AT&T plans to buy NextWave Wireless, a holder of spectrum that could be used for mobile data services, for about $600 million.
NextWave owns licenses for spectrum in both the WCS (Wireless Communications Services) and the AWS (Advanced Wireless Services) band. AT&T said in a press release it plans to use that spectrum to feed “skyrocketing” demand for mobile data, but it will have to wait for an ongoing Federal Communications Commission review before it can take advantage of the WCS band.
The FCC auctioned WCS spectrum in 1997, but it has not been used for mobile data because of rules designed to prevent interference with satellite users in adjacent bands, AT&T said. In June, AT&T and satellite radio company Sirius XM filed a proposal to the FCC for using WCS while protecting the nearby satellite users, but the agency is still reviewing that plan. If it is approved, AT&T hopes to start using the WCS band in about three years.
The NextWave deal is only the latest in a series of moves by big mobile operators to secure more spectrum. AT&T characterized its proposed merger with T-Mobile USA last year, which was opposed by the FCC and other regulators, as first and foremost a deal to acquire spectrum. Verizon Wireless announced a deal earlier this year, which is still under FCC review, to acquire unused wireless licenses from major U.S. cable operators.
Sprint Nextel will end its planned 15-year 4G network relationship with would-be hybrid network operator LightSquared, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.
The end of the Sprint partnership, which was due to expire on Thursday, would be nearly as big a blow to the foundering LightSquared as the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s proposal last month to revoke the carrier’s authorization to build a land-based network.
Since the deal was announced last July, Sprint had been planning to host LightSquared’s radio spectrum on its Network Vision infrastructure. LightSquared was to pay Sprint US$9 billion in cash for that hosting and said the plan would save it $13 billion over eight years.
For its part, Sprint had looked to the partnership for extra spectrum on which to run its own planned LTE network. It would get $4.5 billion worth of credits to use some of LightSquared’s spectrum in addition to its own and that of longtime partner Clearwire. Sprint extended the deal twice to give LightSquared more time to win FCC approval for its network.
Sprint will terminate the LightSquared deal on Friday and return $65 million in prepayments by LightSquared, according to the Journal.
Motorola announced on Twitter that the Android software update for the Xoom tablet is being pushed out in phases starting March 11, which includes enhancements to support the upcoming Adobe Flash Player 10.2.
Launched on February 24, the Xoom was pushed out to the market with some seemingly rushed, half done features, just so it arrived on the market before a new iPad. Despite certain hardware advantages over the original and new iPad, the Xoom flaunted 4G radios, SD card memory expansion and Flash support. However, none of these features were actually operational when the device launched. Read More….