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Verizon continues lower B-block sales

Mon, 11/19/2012 - 2:29pm
Andrew Berg, Wireless Week

Verizon Wireless announced today that it has agreed to sell Oklahoma-based Panhandle Telecommunications Systems licenses for spectrum in the 700 MHz B-block. The spectrum covers 12 counties in the northwest part of Texas. The sale is subject to FCC approval.

The agreement follows on one announced last week with Nortex Communications in Texas. Nortex and Panhandle Telecommunications are the first two companies to be signed as a result of Verizon Wireless’ previously announced sale process for its lower 700 MHz spectrum licenses.

Verizon said it continues to evaluate bids for its other lower 700 MHz spectrum licenses, which cover numerous major cities and dozens of smaller rural markets across the country.

Verizon acquired its 700 MHz A- and B-block spectrum through an FCC auction back in 2008 but never used it. The company moved forward with selling the spectrum after regulators approved Verizon's acquisition of 150 AWS licenses from Cox Communications, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks in August.

Although the Nortex and Panhandle transactions are just the first few deals as a result of the announced sale process, Verizon said that it has previously sold 24 of its lower 700 MHz spectrum licenses to seven different telecommunications companies operating in 13 states.

While Verizon is making an effort to sell its unused spectrum, the carrier has made clear that it won’t be discounting it. Fran Shammo, Verizon's CFO, said during a third-quarter earnings call that the company would find a way to use the spectrum internally if it couldn't get fair market value for it.

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