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AT&T Wins Licenses to Airwaves


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#1 Hum

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Posted 05 February 2008 - 00:49

WASHINGTON (AP) -- AT&T Inc., already the nation's largest cell phone provider, won government approval to buy highly coveted airwaves licenses that cover 196 million people in 281 markets.

The Federal Communications Commission on Monday released an order approving the company's $2.5 billion cash buyout of Aloha Partners L.P. and its spectrum holdings.

The licenses are in the much-sought-after 700-megahertz band that is being vacated by television broadcasters. It is next to spectrum that is currently being auctioned by the FCC and has drawn record bids.

Sixty-two megahertz are up for auction. The Aloha transaction is for 12 megahertz.

AT&T provides wireless service to 63.7 million customers, more than any other wireless provider in the nation, according to the company. Aloha is a Providence, R.I.-based company that acquired the licenses in previous FCC auctions and in the secondary market between 2003 and 2005.

Except for two limited market trials, Aloha never used the airwaves to build a wireless network.

The agency declared the sale would ''not have an adverse effect on competition in the mobile telephony market.'' It noted there were no public comments in opposition to the merger, but FCC commissioner Michael Copps voted against the transfer.

In a statement, Copps said the FCC order constitutes ''a rush to judgment'' on the part of the FCC using a method of analysis that includes ''sloppy math and inaccurate assumptions.'' He said the transfer ''seems destined to reduce competition and diversity in the wireless marketplace.''

AT&T told the FCC the transaction would allow the company to ''meet the growing demand for spectrum-intensive wireless data and content services and to provide these services more cost effectively.''

Aloha acquired the licenses with 35 percent bidding credits, meaning it got them at a deep discount. AT&T will have to make payments to make up for the discounts, plus interest, before the companies can complete the transaction.

AT&T is also a qualified bidder in the ongoing spectrum auction.

As of late Monday afternoon, bids totaled nearly $19 billion. In 2001, bids topped $17.6 billion in a controversy-plagued contest that was largely invalidated by the Supreme Court over a bankruptcy case.

Since then, the highest bid total was $13.9 million in 2006.

source


#2 Boeing 787

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Posted 06 February 2008 - 02:14

AT&T is the worst cell phone provider how do they have 63 million users?

#3 MGS4-SS

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Posted 06 February 2008 - 02:17

AT&T is the worst cell phone provider how do they have 63 million users?


Because its not the worst cell phone provider.

#4 AltimaXP

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Posted 06 February 2008 - 02:17

AT&T is the worst cell phone provider how do they have 63 million users?


Lots of corporate contracts.

#5 Budious

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Posted 06 February 2008 - 02:18

I canceled my AT&T Cingular number last month... but the rest of my family and many friends still use them :(

#6 vetAndrew Lyle

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Posted 06 February 2008 - 02:24

Seriously... AT&T? I thought they closed down all the branches in Canada, because they were doing so bad. I guess not...

But surely, there must be a bigger cell phone carrier out there? Verizon... Rogers, Bell (sorry i dont know what you guys use in the US)

#7 kak

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Posted 06 February 2008 - 02:34

GSM is the future. I'm still with my parents contract [cheaper for us] and CellOne merged with AT&T a few months ago. I'm pretty happy about it. A lot of my friends use Verizon and I hate Verizon. Limited network functions and they reprogram most of their phones. Its horrible.

#8 WooSH

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Posted 06 February 2008 - 02:38

wait, this was the one Google was bidding for too right?

#9 GNRambo

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Posted 06 February 2008 - 02:45

Seriously... AT&T? I thought they closed down all the branches in Canada, because they were doing so bad. I guess not...

But surely, there must be a bigger cell phone carrier out there? Verizon... Rogers, Bell (sorry i dont know what you guys use in the US)



Isnt rogers partly, if not fully, owned by AT&T? It was called Rogers AT&T at one point

#10 Roger H.

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Posted 06 February 2008 - 03:08

AT&T is the worst cell phone provider how do they have 63 million users?


Actually it's 67.1 million now as a result of the 4th quater 2007. AT&T has been bigger than Verizon for a while. Verizon was gaining share and getting closer but last quater we (i think) pulled away futher. Verizon has great churn numbers tho that means people that sign up actually stay while with AT&T a lil bit less stay but at the sametime AT&T pulls in lots more customers (MVNO included).

This is good tho for AT&T. The 850/1900mhz bands are already crowded and trying to fit Anolog*/TDMA*/GSM/UMTS into small chucks of frequency is nothing but headaches. That and the upcoming LTE rollout (in a some years) they would have no space for it all.

* - Anolog and TDMA should be turned off Feb 2008 (which is now) so i hope they meant BY Feb instead of at the END of Feb :) Some markets are already turned off since last year tho but the rest should be off soon :) YAY!!!

Isnt rogers partly, if not fully, owned by AT&T? It was called Rogers AT&T at one point


It WAS a joint venture between AT&T and Rogers but now it's just Rogers as they've taken over fully.

#11 vetbangbang023

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Posted 06 February 2008 - 03:14

AT&T is the worst cell phone provider how do they have 63 million users?

I know it's off topic, but, while their prices are not nearly as competitive as T-Mobile's, I really find AT&T to be the best. The fact that they use GSM and allow use of any GSM phones on their network (made evident by their new sim only/contract free offer) makes it a very attractive option for me. Verizon is really the only company in the States that could compete, but their use of CDMA thus limiting phone options and their habit of crippling features on their phones turned me off to them time and time again.

#12 cybershark

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Posted 06 February 2008 - 10:13

wait, this was the one Google was bidding for too right?


No

The Federal Communications Commission yesterday approved AT&T Inc.'s purchase of wireless spectrum from Aloha Spectrum Holdings for an area covering 60% of the U.S. and serving 196 million people.

The spectrum covered by the FCC ruling, which passed by a 4-1 vote, is in the 700 MHz band, but it is not part of the FCC's continuing 700 MHz spectrum auctions.