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AT&T starts dishing out $1bn in radio frequencies

Spectrum today, cash tomorrow

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AT&T has asked the FCC to approve the transfer of a billion dollars' worth of radio spectrum to T-Mobile USA, to accompany the $3bn it will be handing to Deutsche Telecom.

The money, and radio spectrum, is compensation for failing to buy T-Mobile USA after the deal failed to surmount regulatory hurdles. The money goes to the German parent while the spectrum should help T-Mobile compete in the USA, though being able to roam its customers onto the AT&T network for the next seven years will help too.

The roaming agreement is also part of the compensation, and should allow T-Mobile to concentrate on 4G services – though given the company currently refers to its 3G network as being "4G", and has yet to announce any plans for genuine 4G (LTE) deployments, that might get even more confusing.

Altogether 128 geographic bands are being transferred, some at 2.1GHz and others at the less-popular 1.8GHz, though both are suitable for 3G and/or LTE services.

FCC approval shouldn't be an issue, given the details of the compensation have been public for some time. It's an important formality to be completed before the new owner can move in. ®

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