AT&T Still Chasing Verizon in the 4G LTE Race but Gains a Step with NextWave Acquisition

It’s no secret that Verizon is kicking AT&T’s tail on the 4G LTE front. Big Red has been rolling out 4G service at a comparatively breakneck pace, and AT&T is struggling to catch up. Today, the latter announced an acquisition that should help it gain a bit of ground on the former.

AT&T has agreed to purchase NextWave Wireless, which holds Wireless Communication Services (WCS) and Advanced Wireless Service (AWS) bandwidth licenses. AT&T (and Sirius XM) petitioned the FCC for changes to the WCS spectrum to allow it to be used for mobile devices, which would potentially help the company with its mobile bandwidth capacity problems. An approval on that front would make the NextWave buy a lucrative one, as AT&T would be able to follow through with its plan to boost its 4G capacity with WCS starting in a few years.

AT&T building

NextWave’s shareholders have approved the deal, the terms of which include a price tag of $25 million for NexWave and its equity, a contingent payment of up to $25 million, and the elimination by NextWave or assumption by AT&T of $600 million in debt.