Although AT&T made a bad call with regards to the plan to buy T-Mobile, the company lost no time in finding a backup. This time, things worked out just fine, as AT&T’s deal to buy Qualcomm Inc. airwaves has been approved by U.S. regulators.
AT&T managed to win the approval of the U.S. regulators to buy Qualcomm Inc. airwaves for $1.93 billion, just three days after the deal with T-Mobile failed due to dismissal from authorities.
Given that the deal involves over 300 million users, the Federal Communications Commission said that AT&T can’t use the purchased airwaves in a way that will interfere with other wireless carriers. Thus, under this condition, the deal “would not result in competitive harm that would outweigh the public interest benefits of this transaction”.
AT&T argued that the FCC should not require interoperability with nearby airwaves, because this restriction would delay its efforts to build its LTE network.
The purchased airwaves will be used to supplement the next-generation LTE network and improve existing service for customers. The airwaves have been originally used by Qualcomm to run its pay television service, FLO TV and can only be used for downloads, not uploads.
Earlier this week, analysts with Reuters estimated that AT&T may now look to Dish Network Corp or Clearwire Corp for its next deal. Seemingly Dish is expected to buy a large packet of airwaves, while Clearwire needs funding and holds unused amounts of spectrum.
According to an analysis by Metrico Wireless, AT&T’s average LTE speeds are better than Verizon’s. However, while AT&T just launched in the LTE business, Verizon already has over half a million subscribers for this network.
The report also showed that despite AT&T’s better data speeds, web pages load faster on Verizon. “In general, the subscriber experience is not simply driven by the network or the device, but by the combination of the two”, points out the report.
Metrico Wireless used five 4G LTE handsets in its tests: two on AT&T, three on Verizon. On AT&T, the HTC Vivid and Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket were measured. The HTC Thunderbolt, Samsung Droid Charge and Motorola Droid Bionic were tested on Verizon’s network