AT&T plans on paying rival mobile operator Verizon $1.9 billion for licenses covering spectrum in the 700MHz B band in 18 states. The spectrum to be purchased covers 42 million people living in California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.
Together with 700MHz B band spectrum already owned by AT&T, the carrier hopes to finish building out its 4G LTE service. The nation's second largest carrier has a goal in place to blanket 300 million people with its 4G LTE service by the end of 2014. As part of the transaction with Verizon, AT&T will sell a single AWS license to Grain Management while leasing 700MHz spectrum from them in three markets.
The entire deal requires regulatory approval, which means someone in the U.S. government is getting a nice lunch. The deal is expected to close in the second half of this year.