AT&T Buys More Bandwidth, But It Won’t Help Current Congestion

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AT&T is getting a jumpstart on its 4G network by agreeing to purchase almost $2 billion worth of airspace used by Qualcomm’s recently-shuttered Flo TV service. Flo TV plans to stop using the airspace in March 2011 and the sale is expected to close in the second half of next year sometime, pending regulatory approval.

The airspace resides in the 700MHz spectrum, with the portion that AT&T has purchased offering coverage for 70 million people living in the New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Francisco areas, plus another 230 million people across other areas of the country.

AT&T’s current network uses the 850MHz and 1900MHz spectrums, so the additional chunk of 700MHz spectrum won’t do anything to alleviate 3G network congestion in the short term but it should help accelerate the company’s build-out of a 4G network next year.

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