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February 21, 2013

Verizon Finishes Deal, Sells Spectrum to Three Companies

Verizon Wireless, a group formed by Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group Plc, just sold three of its 700 MHz spectrum blocks to some telecommunication companies operating in rural areas.

One of the companies Verizon dealt with was Nortex Communications in Muenster, Texas. The deal gave Nortex Verizon's Texas RSA 6-Jack lower B-block license in its 700 MHz spectrum for coverage of four counties just outside Dallas. Panhandle Telecommunication Systems, Inc. was also a purchaser, buying Verizon's Texas RSA 2-Hansford 700 MHz lower B-block license. They will have a larger coverage with the ability to provide 12 counties with its cellular services in northwestern Texas. The third purchaser was Colorado Valley Communications, buying an A-Block license that gives it coverage in over five counties in the immediate vicinity of Houston.

In August last year, Verizon made a compromise with the Federal Communications Commission in which it will sell its Lower A and B Block 700 MHz spectrum with the purpose of getting the FCC's approval to purchase the Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum from SpectrumCo for $3.9B. SpectrumCo is a consortium between Comcast Corporation, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks.

Since its deal in August with the FCC, Verizon has been actively searching for people who would buy pieces of the spectrum it doesn't use so that it can have the financial resources at its disposal that would enable it to buy out a large piece of the sought-after AWS spectrum. During this time period, Verizon Wireless shook hands with seven providers, one of them national. Five of the providers were rural or regional. With the three sales closed, Verizon has four more to go.

Near the end of last month, Verizon got in touch with AT&T, Inc. about the sale of its 39 lower 700 MHz licenses, which includes coverage to 18 different states and includes cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, and Miami. As part of the deal, Verizon gets $1.9B and AWS spectrum licenses in five different big areas. This particular deal might not conclude until the later part of this year.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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