AT&T announced on Wednesday that it has finished acquiring the 700MHz band B block of wireless spectrum from Verizon Wireless. AT&T first expressed interest in the spectrum back in June of last year, and then announced deal with Verizon Wireless in January.

The spectrum is particularly enticing for AT&T because it covers such a large number of people, 42 million to be exact, across 18 different U.S. states spanning from the east coast to the west coast. AT&T will use the spectrum to increase its existing 4G LTE footprint, which currently covers 225 million in the United States. AT&T hopes to cover more than 270 million people by the end of this year, and the 700MHz spectrum will be key in achieving that goal.

AT&T agreed to provide Verizon with its AWS spectrum in five markets in addition to $1.9 billion for the spectrum.

AT&T Completes Acquisition of 700 MHz Spectrum from Verizon Wireless to Support 4G LTE

September 10, 2013 04:21 PM Eastern Daylight Time
DALLAS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–AT&T* announced today that it completed its acquisition of wireless spectrum in the lower 700 MHz band B block from Verizon Wireless. The acquired licenses cover 42 million people in 18 states – California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.

"AT&T clocks best overall speeds with 3G/4G combo"

The spectrum will support AT&T's deployment of 4G LTE to meet surging demand for mobile Internet services. AT&T has the nation's fastest and now most reliable 4G LTE network, according to independent third-party data.1 AT&T's 4G LTE network currently covers more than 225 million people, with plans to reach nearly 270 million people by the end of 2013, and to substantially complete the build by summer 2014. AT&T's plans to deploy 4G LTE include the areas covered by this spectrum.

The performance of AT&T's 4G LTE network continues to be validated by independent third-party testing:

Our 4G LTE service was recognized as having faster average download and upload speeds than any of our competitors in PCWorld/TechHive's most recent 20-market speed tests – the second consecutive year that AT&T has ranked first overall. PCWorld/TechHive also ranked AT&T's network as the fastest combination of 3G and 4G services in the 20 cities it tested.2
AT&T was named America's fastest 4G LTE network in PC Magazine's 2013 Fastest Mobile Networks 30-market study – and also swept the top rankings in all six U.S. regions from coast to coast: Northeast, Southeast, North-Central, South-Central, Northwest and Southwest.3
In exchange for the 700 MHz spectrum, AT&T paid $1.9 billion in cash and transferred Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum licenses in Phoenix, Ariz.; Los Angeles and Fresno, Calif.; Albuquerque, N.M.; and Portland, Ore.

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

1Speed claim based on comparison of U.S. national carriers' avg 4G LTE download speeds. Reliability claim based on data transfer completion rates on nationwide 4G LTE networks. 4G LTE not available everywhere. LTE is a trademark of ETSI.
2PCWorld/TechHive, May 23, 2013, "AT&T clocks best overall speeds with 3G/4G combo"
3PC Magazine, June 17, 2013; http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2420333,00.asp