AT&T Pays $980M for 24 GHz Spectrum in 383 Partial Economic Areas
Tuesday, June 18, 2019 | Comments

AT&T announced it is the winning bidder for spectrum licenses covering more than 98% of the U.S. population following the close of FCC Auction 102. The company spent about $980 million in the auction.

The company won 24 GHz spectrum in 383 partial economic areas (PEAs) for a nationwide average of 254 megahertz. All of the licenses won were in the more valuable upper 500 megahertz portion of the 24 GHz band, giving AT&T stronger nationwide coverage and additional spectrum depth and capacity in many top markets where demand is often greatest. In the top 10 markets alone, AT&T won nearly 286 megahertz on average, including 300 megahertz in eight of those markets, the carrier said.

AT&T will use the spectrum to bolster its mobile 5G strategy. The company’s 5G service is available in parts of 19 cities, with plans to reach parts of 29 cities by the end of 2019. In the first half of 2020, the company expects to have the best combination of mobile 5G, providing high speeds and low latency service over mmWave spectrum and nationwide 5G service over “sub-6” spectrum.

The licenses won cover all top 50 PEAs and 99 of the top 100 PEAs. When added to the mmWave spectrum AT&T already holds in the 39 GHz band, AT&T’s average spectrum depth in mmWave increased by two-thirds to more than 630 megahertz nationwide.

AT&T said the spectrum purchase does not change its 2019 guidance for free cash flow, net asset monetization or debt leverage ratio. The company continues to expect $6 billion to $8 billion in proceeds from asset monetization, net of spectrum purchases and other asset acquisitions.

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