Verizon Wireless

agreed Thursday to pay $930 million to scoop up some wireless spectrum from bankrupt telco

NextWave Telecom

.

Verizon

(VZ) - Get Report

, the nation's leading cell-phone service provider, said the 10 megahertz license is in the 1.9 gigahertz personal communications services frequency range and covers a population of 20.1 million people for the New York metro area.

The deal comes as Verizon and rival

Nextel

(NXTL)

mull a federal ruling that could hand Nextel an

ample swath of spectrum in the highly regarded 1.9-GHz range. The Federal Communications Commission ruled Thursday that Nextel could swap some of its existing spectrum for a new patch in an effort to clear the band used by emergency responders such as the police and firefighters.

Nextel said it was studying the ruling, while Verizon criticized it as a giveaway. Shares in both companies fell Thursday, Verizon dropping 59 cents to $35.48 and Nextel slumping 88 cents to $25.52.