Verizon plans to sell off some mobile spectrum

The carrier plans to sell off the A and B blocks of the 700MHz spectrum if its deals with cable providers are approved

By , IDG News Service |  Networking

Verizon Wireless plans to sell off two 12MHz blocks of mobile spectrum in the 700MHz, if its proposed purchase of spectrum from a group of cable providers is approved by federal regulators, the company announced Wednesday.

Verizon plans to sell off its spectrum licenses for the A and B blocks of the 700MHz spectrum, the company announced. Verizon purchased the spectrum in the 2008 700MHz auction.

Verizon is deploying a 4G LTE network on its nationwide 700 MHz upper C spectrum, also purchased in the 2008 auction. The spectrum Verizon plans to purchase from Comcast and other cable companies would also be used for LTE, the company said in a news release.

In December, Verizon announced plans to buy unused mobile spectrum covering 259 million U.S. residents from SpectrumCo, a joint venture among Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, in a deal worth US$3.6 billion.

Verizon announced a separate deal to buy $315 million worth of spectrum from Cox Communications later that month.

Several consumer groups and competitors of Verizon have protested the sale and related cross-marketing deals between Verizon and the cable firms. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is reviewing the deals.

Verizon spent about $9.4 billion in the 700MHz auction, half of it for the large nationwide C block.

Verizon wants to sell the A and B blocks quickly after the sale of the cable spectrum is completed, the company said.

"Since wireless operators, large and small, have expressed concern about the availability of high-quality spectrum, we believe our 700 MHz licenses will be attractive to a wide range of buyers," Molly Feldman, Verizon Wireless' vice president of business development, said in a statement.  "Provided our acquisition of [the cable] spectrum is approved, our open sale process will ensure these A and B spectrum licenses are quickly and fairly made available for the benefit of other carriers and their customers."

Stephens, a financial services firm based in Little Rock, Arkansas, will manage the sale of the spectrum, Verizon said. The firm will reach out to minority- and women-owned businesses interested in the spectrum, Verizon said.

The A block licenses cover several large metropolitan areas, including New York City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Miami, Cleveland, Detroit, and Houston. The B block licenses cover several areas, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Cincinnati, and Memphis.

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