AT&T buys San Diego WCS spectrum
AT&T continued its WCS shopping spree yesterday with the purchase of two licenses in San Diego, a key market in California.
The spectrum will be used to supplement AT&T's LTE network in the California market, where competitor Verizon Wireless launched LTE nearly two years ago. AT&T switched on its own San Diego LTE network in January.
According to documents filed with the FCC, AT&T is buying 10 MHz of C- and D-block WCS spectrum from the San Diego Gas & Electric Co.
The FCC has combined the transaction with AT&T's other WCS and AWS purchases from Comcast, Horizon Wi-Com and NextWave Wireless. Together with those licenses, the spectrum from the utility company will give AT&T 30 MHz of WCS spectrum in San Diego.
AT&T had planned to divest its WCS spectrum because interference issues with satellite service precluded its use. But after hashing out a fix for satellite interference with Sirius XM this summer, AT&T changed course and bought additional WCS licenses, aiming to use them for LTE.
The FCC still has to put AT&T and Sirius XM's compromise into effect. As they stand now, current regulations effectively preclude the use of LTE in the WCS band, AT&T wrote in a June FCC filing.
If the FCC relaxes its rules, AT&T said it will be able to use its WCS spectrum for LTE in three years. It currently uses 700 MHz and AWS spectrum for its LTE network.
AT&T announced in August it was acquiring NextWave Wireless in a transaction valued at $600 million. The two companies jointly owned WCS spectrum before the buyout was announced.