The Federal Communications Commission has asked AT&T Inc. (T) to provide more details of its planned LTE deployment in connection with its review of the company’s pending $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA Inc.
The additional details include AT&T’s comments that the acquisition would provide a business case for expanding LTE deployments that would not be in place if the deal is not approved.
The FCC request follows an unintended release of documents filed by AT&T that showed the company could cover rural markets for approximately $3.8 billion with its current assets, or roughly one-tenth the planned acquisition price of T-Mobile USA.
AT&T had originally said that the acquisition of T-Mobile USA would allow the carrier to expand LTE coverage to 95% of the U.S. population using its combined 700 MHz and 1.7/2.1 GHz spectrum assets, a number that it later increased to 97.3%. The 95% figure was reported to be an additional 46.5 million potential customers covered compared with what AT&T said it could provide with its current spectrum assets.
The FCC noted earlier this month that it would “coordinate” reviews of the AT&T/T-Mobile USA transaction with AT&T’s current plans to acquire 700 MHz spectrum assets from Qualcomm Inc. Prior to the latest FCC inquiry, analysts were still expecting the deal to be approved sometime early next year, though concessions were likely.
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