While AT&T's attempts to acquire T-Mobile are stuck in limbo, rival Verizon has been quietly gobbling up spectrum from cable companies like Cox Communications, which today sold Verizon $315 million in licenses for 20MHz of its Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum.
Cox says the spectrum covers 28 million points of presence (POP) and is not part of Cox's spectrum portfolio on the 700MHz band. Cox and Verizon will also "become agents to sell each other's residential and commercial products and services through their respective sales channels," Cox says.
Finally, Cox expects that it will at some point enter into the joint venture recently founded by Verizon, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks to combine wireline and wireless services and integrate them into bundled packages for customers.
"These agreements provide Cox customers with key enablers to mobility, such as access to Verizon Wireless' 4G LTE network," said Pat Esser, president of Cox Communications. "We look forward to the many benefits this will bring to customers."
Earlier this month Comcast, Time Warner and Bright House agreed to sell Verizon 122 AWS spectrum licenses that covered 259 million POPs for $3.6 billion, more than 10 times what Verizon is paying for the Cox spectrum licenses. Verizon Wireless CEO Dan Mead said at the time that the spectrum purchase "solidifies our network leadership into the future" and would allow Verizon to deliver better 4G LTE services to its users.
Both wireless carriers and the FCC have made freeing up more mobile spectrum a major priority to help meet demands for mobile data on 4G networks. The FCC last year projected that growth in wireless data demand will lead to a "spectrum deficit" of 275MHz if no new spectrum is released by 2014. There is currently 547MHz of spectrum available for dual use in mobile voice and data services.
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