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AT&T's Consolation Prize? Deal Approved For Qualcomm's Wireless Spectrum

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AT&T (NYSE: T) finally won a round with the U.S. government, but only because T-Mobile wasn’t involved. The carrier got the go-ahead to purchase wireless spectrum from Qualcomm (NSDQ: QCOM) for $1.9 billion Friday, something it asked for when dropping its bid to purchase T-Mobile earlier this week.

The spectrum will help AT&T (theoretically) build a broader and more-reliable wireless network in a fashion far more palatable to the government than the acquisition of T-Mobile’s wireless spectrum and customer base. The Federal Communications Commission gave the bid preliminary approval back in November but that was overshadowed by a ruling on the same day that the AT&T/T-Mobile merger would be subject to an FCC hearing, which effectively killed that deal.

Qualcomm had wanted to use the spectrum for its FLO TV service (anybody remember FLO TV?) but for reasons that should be obvious, it no longer needs wireless spectrum for that service.