AT&T never stopped looking for new wireless spectrum. Especially after the purchase T-Mobile debacle, AT&T needed more.
Today, they got what they've been seeking.
In a deal that could cost upwards of $600 million, AT&T is acquiring spectrum holding company NextWave Wireless.
According to today's Business Wire report:
Under the terms of the agreement, AT&T will acquire all the equity of NextWave for approximately $25 million plus a contingent payment of up to approximately $25 million and, through a separate agreement with NextWave’s debtholders, all of the company’s outstanding debt will be acquired by AT&T or retired by NextWave, for a total of $600 million in cash.
AT&T will get NextWave's AWS (Advanced Wireless Services) and WCS (Wireless Communication Services) licenses.
Those WCS frequencies, in the 700 MHz band, have never really been used for mobile Internet connections ensuring zero interference (to date) with satellite radio transmissions. AT&T has filed a joint agreement with Sirius/XM at the FCC pledging non-interference.
Of course, all of this is pending FCC approval.