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Qualcomm sold its 700 MHz spectrum to AT&T for $1.925 billion. This includes 12 MHz of the D and E block spectrum (what was Channel 55 and 56) covering over 70 million people, including in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. It also includes 6 MHz of D block spectrum covering over 230 million people across the rest of the United States. In total, the spectrum covers over 300 million people. This sales is expected to close during the second half of 2011.

AT&T paid $6.637 billion for its current 700 MHz spectrum that it acquired in the 2008 auction. This was for 150 licenses of B block spectrum which consists of 12 MHz of spectrum. (Verizon got 22 MHz of spectrum, which is enough to use with one 10 MHz downlink channel and one 10 MHz uplink channel.) This spectrum is only in urban areas. AT&T had gotten less spectrum for 4G than Verizon and covering a smaller geographical area and fewer people. This spectrum will help AT&T to increase its downlink bandwidth using carrier aggregation at a later point.

Overall, this is not a huge deal, but is important for AT&T to compete against Verizon. For the downlink, it puts AT&T more on par with Verizon in rural areas and gives AT&T an advantage over Verizon in urban areas. It will do nothing for AT&T's disadvantage on its uplink spectrum.


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