Verizon picks up more spectrum from Cox Communications

Verizon continues to buy up spectrum licenses, leading to speculation about what the telecommunications company's goal could be.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

Verizon Wireless is on a holiday shopping spree of its own -- at least when it comes to advanced wireless spectrum licenses.

This time the purchase consists of 20 MHz Advanced Wireless Services spectrum licenses, covering 28 million POPs. Verizon is paying $315 million to Cox Communications for these licenses.

Verizon recently purchased over 122 Advanced Wireless Services spectrum licenses, which covers 259 million POPs, for a total of $3.6 billion, paid to Comcast, Time Warner, and Bright House Networks. Verizon also inked a deal with Leap Wireless to take over excess spectrum in various markets around the U.S. for $188 million.

Similar to the deal with the trio of cable companies, Cox customers will have access to Verizon's 4G LTE network. Furthermore, Verizon and Cox will be able to sell each other's products on a wholesale basis. Cox will also be brought into the fold to integrate its wireless products and services with not only Verizon, but also Comcast, Time Warner and Bright House.

Verizon's major movement in the wireless spectrum license space has many analysts buzzing about what the telecommunications company's intentions are.

Certainly, there is the possibility that Verizon is just boosting its spectrum to stay ahead as the nation's leading mobile provider and keep 4G LTE speeds running smoothly as more consumers use the network for heavy data usage purposes. After all, AT&T's reasoning to the FCC as to why it wants to buy T-Mobile USA so it can boost its own 4G network capabilities.

One such heavy use case is HD video streaming, which Verizon is also rumored to be very interested in, whether it means buying Netflix, partnering with Redbox, or starting a brand-new service on its own in 2012. Any of those cases would require a good deal more of spectrum coverage to handle Verizon's potential venture.

UPDATE: The Media Access Project seems to think otherwise and has chimed in about the matter. Here's an official statement:

Cox Communications now has joined the other large cable operators in a deal that insures that Verizon and the cable industry will stop competing with each other. It is clear Verizon will stop building out its Fios video service. From here on out, cable won’t do wireless, and Verizon won’t do video. This new cartel means higher prices and less competition. The cease-fire is more important to consumers than the proposed AT&T/T-Mobile transaction because it is much more likely to happen.


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