Today AT&T announced plans to buy up NextWave Wireless, and though it may seem like an odd purchase at first, there’s a good reason for it. NextWave has the rights to use Wireless Communication Services (WCS) and Advanced Wireless Service (AWS) spectrum, and it seems that AT&T is specifically interested in WCS spectrum to give its 4G LTE service a boost. Of course, there are a few roadblocks that AT&T has to get past before it can do such a thing, considering that the FCC hasn’t cleared WCS for mobile Internet yet.
AT&T, along with Sirius XM, is working on that however, asking the FCC in June to begin allowing WCS to be used for mobile data. The FCC’s main concern is that using WCS for mobile Internet might interrupt the adjacent satellite radio spectrum, but the proposal presented by AT&T and Sirius XM would apparently solve this issue. The FCC is still reviewing the proposal though, so it could go either way for AT&T’s request.
There’s also the fact that the FCC might want to review this acquisition, and the Justice Department may be interested in checking out NextWave’s assets before they change hands. If there aren’t any objections to the deal, then AT&T will be purchasing NextWave for $25 million plus a contingent payment of approximately $25 million. AT&T will also acquire all of NextWave’s debt for a total purchase price of $600 million. AT&T says that NextWave’s debtholders have agreed to the terms of the acquisition, as have most of its shareholders.
This could be a pretty big buy for AT&T, provided everything with the FCC works out in the company’s favor. By purchasing NextWave’s assets, AT&T could do a lot to boost its 4G LTE service. We’ll be finding out if the purchase is a go soon enough, as AT&T expects to have everything in the books by the end of the year. Stay tuned.