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Summary:

Verizon has begun selling off its extra 700 MHz licenses per its agreement with the FCC to give up spare 4G spectrum in exchange for the cableco airwaves. So far there’s been no blockbuster sale, though and AT&T has yet to make a move.

In order to grease the wheels for its blockbuster purchase of the cable operators 4G spectrum, Verizon Wireless promised regulators that it would return a bunch of unused 700 MHz licenses to the market – a move we described as trading beachfront spectrum for penthouse airwaves. Keeping its promise, Verizon has started selling off its 700 MHz frequencies, but at least for now, it’s parceling them out one license at a time.

Verizon has announced to two spectrum sales, each for a single rural license: Panhandle Telecommunications will get a 10 MHz chunk covering 12 northwest Texas counties while fellow Texas provider Nortex Communications will take possession of a 12 MHz block in four counties north of Dallas. Prior to the FCC deal Verizon said it has had cut deals with seven more operators covering 24 licenses in the pipe, and it said it is evaluating multiple additional bids, though there’s no word whether these deals are for more rural licenses or for Verizon’s metro market airwaves.

Verizon is selling some very attractive 700 MHz frequencies in some of the country’s biggest markets. Verizon has already traded away one of valuable Chicago licenses to Leap Wireless, but it has another spare 12 MHz in the Windy City for sale, as well as significant holdings in big cities from Los Angeles in New York.

The wild card in all of this is AT&T. It’s the only operator of the big four that uses the lower 700 MHz for LTE, and it could find Verizon’s B-block licenses very useful for filling out its nationwide 4G footprint.

Image courtesy of Flickr user turtlemom4bacon.

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  1. Will any of this help increase VZW’s 4G/LTE footprint. I’m in the North East part of Fort Worth, TX and my LTE data speeds are about 1/3 of what I can get downtown. The crazy thing is that this area is fairly flat and antennas here should be able to reach farther than the antennas downtown, right? Or, does VZW just have a greater concentration of antennas downtown? It’s nice for the company to sell something but more of a priority is to get the speed I’m paying for. I’m not always in the middle of a city. No griping but patiently waiting….

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