AT&T has agreed to acquire airwaves from Verizon Wireless, the U.S.' largest cellular network by subscribers, for $1.9 billion, the company said today.
The deal to buy the chunk of 700 MHz from Verizon—which the cellular giant isn't even using—will help AT&T, the second largest network in the U.S., to bolster its network, the firm said today in a regulatory filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
AT&T will acquire the spectrum with a mix of cash and contribution of Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum licenses in five markets.
It noted that the spectrum will help to cover 42 million people across 18 states, including California, Washington, New York and Florida. By acquiring the spectrum, AT&T will continue to deploy 4G LTE services "meet demand for mobile Internet services on a wide array of smartphones, tablets and other devices."
The company said in November that it plans to reach 300 million people in the U.S. with its next-generation mobile broadband speeds by the end of 2014.
The deal will be completed in the second half of 2013, and is subject to approval by U.S. regulators.
It comes only days after AT&T acquired the U.S. retail wireless operations of Atlantic Tele-Network (ATNI) for $780 million in cash, including wireless properties, licenses, network assets, and retail stores.
The move was to help bring AT&T coverage to particularly rural areas of Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, and South Carolina.