AT&T Files Papers with FCC to Hand Over AWS Spectrum to T-Mobile

Ryan Whitwam

AT&T is finally putting all that T-Mobile unpleasantness behind it with a new filing at the FCC. AT&T and T-Mobile have filed for approval to transfer about $1 billion in AWS spectrum holdings to T-Mobile as penance for failing to ram the $39 billion acquisition through. AT&T has already paid $3 billion in cash to T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom AG.

AT&T was so confident that the deal would be approved, that it offered Deutsche Telekom very favorable terms, including the breakup fee it is now paying. The DOJ and FCC both moved to block the deal, forcing AT&T to back off the plan just before Christmas. The AWS spectrum now being handed over will allow T-Mobile to expand its HSPA+ 3G network. It already uses AWS, so there won’t be any trouble putting the licenses to use.

This still leaves AT&T without enough spectrum to compete with Verizon’s larger LTE network, and T-Mobile lacks any 4G strategy at all. T-Mobile has been losing customers left and right, and its insistence on calling HSPA+ “4G” can only take it so far.

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