Verizon Wireless has announced plans to conduct an open sale process for all of its 700MHz A and B spectrum licences, in order to ‘rationalise its spectrum holdings’. The concessions cover dozens of major cities across the country, as well as a number of smaller and rural markets. Verizon obtained the 700MHz A and B licences, as well as nationwide 700MHz upper C licences (with the exception of Alaska which acquired separately), in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) Auction 73 in 2008. However, to support the rollout of its nationwide Long Term Evolution (LTE) network, December 2011 saw Verizon announce that it had acquired a total of 122 Advanced Wireless Spectrum (AWS) licences, covering around 259 million people, from SpectrumCo, a joint venture between Comcast Corporation, Time Warner Cable (TWC) and Bright House Networks. If Verizon is successful in acquiring these AWS concessions, it will use AWS spectrum in conjunction with its 700MHz upper C band spectrum for additional LTE capacity.
Accordingly, the sale of the A and B licences is contingent on the closure of Verizon Wireless’ pending purchases of AWS licences from SpectrumCo, a deal which is expected to take place by mid-summer. Molly Feldman, vice president of Business Development for Verizon Wireless, commented: ‘Since wireless operators, large and small, have expressed concern about the availability of high-quality spectrum, we believe our 700MHz licences will be attractive to a wide range of buyers. Moreover, provided our acquisition of AWS spectrum is approved, our open sale process will ensure these A and B spectrum licences are quickly and fairly made available for the benefit of other carriers and their customers’. Stephens Inc, a nationally recognised, independent financial services firm based in Little Rock, Arkansas, has been engaged to manage the offering process.
The markets covered by the 700MHz A and B licences are as follows: A Block Licences (Economic Areas): New York, Philadelphia, Washington-Baltimore, Orlando, Miami, Tampa, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Oklahoma City, Dallas, Austin, Houston, San Antonio (CMA area only), Denver, Los Angeles, Fresno, San Francisco and Sacramento. B Block (Cellular Market Areas): Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Cincinnati, Rochester, Memphis, Oklahoma City, Greensboro-Winston Salem, Charlotte, Youngstown, Raleigh-Durham, West Palm Beach, Fort Collins, Pueblo and Colorado 4 – Park; Bradenton and Florida 3- Hardee; Athens, GA; Idaho 5 – Butte; Lake Charles, Alexandria, Louisiana 1- Claiborne, Louisiana 2 – Morehouse and Louisiana 3 – De Soto; Maryland 3 – Frederick; Billings, Great Falls, Montana 8 – Beaverhead, and Montana 9 – Carbon; Nevada 3 – Storey; New Mexico 5 – Grant and New Mexico 6 – Lincoln; Rapid City and South Dakota 1 – Harding; Lubbock, Amarillo, Waco, Longview-Marshall, Tyler, Texarkana, Odessa, Laredo, Midland, Texas 2 – Hansford, Texas 6 – Jack and Texas 18 – Edwards; Utah 1 – Box Elder, Utah 4 – Beaver, Utah 5 – Daggett and Utah 6 – Piute; Virginia 10 – Frederick; Washington 2 – Okanogan; Casper and Wyoming 2 – Sheridan.