DALLAS, Jan. 30, 2015 — At the conclusion of the FCC’s Auction 97, AT&T** has successfully acquired licenses for a near nationwide contiguous 10x10 MHz block of high-quality AWS-3 spectrum. As a result of the acquisition, AT&T now covers 96 percent of the U.S. population with high-value contiguous AWS-3 spectrum.
“Growth in our customers’ mobile data usage continues to explode, driven by mobile video traffic. This spectrum investment will be critical to AT&T staying ahead of customer demand and facilitate the next generation of mobile video entertainment,” said John Stankey, chief strategy officer-AT&T.
Mobile data traffic on AT&T’s national wireless network increased 100,000 percent from January 2007 through December 2014.
AT&T will work with network and handset suppliers, and industry standards bodies to deploy the spectrum beginning in the 2017-2018 period, allowing the company to stay ahead of strong growth in mobile Internet traffic. AT&T anticipates putting this spectrum into service as a supplemental downlink to deliver additional mobile Internet capacity and better performance for its customers. AT&T will work with the FCC, NTIA, DOD, and other federal agencies to also support uplink capacity as soon as possible.
AT&T’s winning bids for this spectrum totaled $18.2 billion. The spectrum to be awarded to AT&T includes 57 percent of MHz POPs covered by the valuable J-block of AWS-3 spectrum. The company will continue to focus on maintaining a strong balance sheet but expects that with this spectrum investment and other pending acquisitions, in the near term it may go above its 1.8x net-debt-to-EBITDA target. The company will use excess cash — after paying its dividend — over the next three years to pay down debt, and expects to return to historical debt ratios.
*Based on POP-ranking of Cellular Market Areas (CMAs) utilizing Nielsen 2014 population estimates.
**AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.
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Reliability and signal strength claims based on nationwide carriers’ LTE. Signal strength claim based ONLY on avg. LTE signal strength. LTE not available everywhere. Global coverage claim based on offering voice and data roaming in more countries than any other U.S. based carrier, and offering the most wireless smartphones and tablets that work in the most countries.
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