Government // Mobile & Wireless
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7/25/2008
04:43 PM
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NextWave Sells $150 Million Of Spectrum To T-Mobile, Others

The deal gives T-Mobile, MetroPCS, ACS Wireless, and Atlantic Wireless portions of this coveted spectrum.

NextWave Wireless announced this week it sold 63% of its Advanced Wireless Services spectrum for about $150 million.

Pending FCC approval, the company will sell 599 million MHz-pops of its AWS spectrum to T-Mobile USA, MetroPCS, ACS Wireless, and Atlantic Wireless. NextWave originally acquired all of its AWS licenses for about $115 million at the FCC auction in 2006.

The AWS spectrum is coveted by wireless operators because it can be used to provide mobile voice and data services, as well as video and messaging.

"The sale of our AWS spectrum is just the first step in maximizing the value of our spectrum portfolio," said Allen Salmasi, CEO and president of NextWave Wireless, in a statement. "We will continue to monetize our remaining spectrum assets in the United States and are working with Deutsche Bank and UBS Investment Bank to achieve our spectrum sale objective."

The sale still leaves NextWave with a significant amount of spectrum in the United States, particularly in California, Florida, and New England. The company also owns spectrum in Europe, Canada, and South America.

In April, the company announced it planned to sell its 154 AWS licenses, 30 Wireless Communication Service licenses, and additional Educational Broadband Service and Broadband Radio Service licenses. Taken together, the company's spectrum could create a network that covers most of the United States.

For T-Mobile, the move gives the fourth-largest U.S. wireless carrier more options to potentially expand its 3G network. The company had previously spent more than $4 billion to acquire AWS spectrum during the 2006 auction and began rolling out its high-speed mobile network earlier this year.

NextWave's stock has jumped up more than 35% in the last few days because of news of the sale and other developments.

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