Verizon Wireless has announced plans to conduct an open sale process for all of its unused 700 MHz A and B spectrum licenses in order to rationalize its spectrum holdings. The licenses cover dozens of major cities across the country, as well as a number of smaller and rural markets. Verizon Wireless obtained the 700 MHz A and B licenses, as well as nationwide 700 MHz upper C licenses (with the exception of Alaska which has since been acquired), in FCC Auction 73 in 2008.
“Since wireless operators, large and small, have expressed concern about the availability of high-quality spectrum, we believe our 700 MHz licenses will be attractive to a wide range of buyers,” said Molly Feldman, vice president of Business Development for Verizon Wireless. “Moreover, provided our acquisition of AWS spectrum is approved, our open sale process will ensure these A and B spectrum licenses are quickly and fairly made available for the benefit of other carriers and their customers.”
Accordingly, the sale of the A and B licenses is contingent on the close of Verizon Wireless’ pending purchases of AWS licenses from SpectrumCo (an entity jointly owned by Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks), Cox and Leap Wireless. These transactions are at varying stages of review by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) and are expected to close by mid-summer. The company is announcing the sale plans now and will begin the process of soliciting interest from potential buyers to ensure the process can move forward quickly once the AWS license transfers have been completed.