AT&T sans T-Mobile USA: Making lemons from lemonade

In the wake of its failed acquisition of T-Mobile USA, analysts are speculating where AT&T can find enough spectrum to keep pace with Verizon Wireless. But instead AT&T should be scrambling to ensure that it makes the most of the spectrum it does have.

Today in Mobile

Verizon Wireless announced today that it plans to shell out $3.6 billion for 122 advanced wireless services (AWS) licenses from Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. As my colleague Kevin Fitchard notes, the deal includes an “agent” agreement enabling cable operators to operate as MVNOs on Verizon’s network, while Verizon could end up selling residential services like TV and broadband out of its stores. But the big question about the agreement is whether it would get the nod from federal regulators and policy makers. The FCC and Justice Department aren’t thrilled about consolidation in the mobile telecom industry, as demonstrated by their (justified) opposition to the AT&T/T-Mobile USA tie-up. And while Verizon’s plan is of a lesser scale, the Beltway may make it difficult for the nation’s biggest carrier to add a big helping of spectrum.