Cox Communications, having recently dismantled its wireless ambitions, said it plans to sell its 20 megahertz 1.7/2.1 GHz spectrum holdings to Verizon Wireless for $315 million. Cox noted that those spectrum assets cover 28 million potential customers and do not include its 12 megahertz of spectrum in the 700 MHz band or any of its current wireless customers.
As part of the deal, Cox and Verizon Wireless also announced plans to resell each other’s residential and commercial products and services through their respective sales channels. Cox will also hold the option to sell Verizon Wireless’ services on a wholesale basis.
The move follows Verizon Wireless’ announcement earlier this month that it would purchase 122 1.7/2.1 GHz spectrum licenses (also known as AWS spectrum) covering 259 million potential customers for $3.6 billion from a consortium of cable companies. Those cable companies include Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks.
As part of that deal, the parties also entered into an “innovation technology joint venture,” which Cox will also now have the option to join. The venture is designed to look at ways to integrate wireline and wireless products and services.
“These agreements provide Cox customers with key enablers to mobility, such as access to Verizon Wireless’ 4G LTE network and iconic wireless devices,” said Pat Esser, president of Cox Communications. “We look forward to the many benefits this will bring to customers.”
Both spectrum deals will have to pass through regulatory approval, though analysts have been somewhat positive on those chances as the acquisitions are not taking a competitor out of the market.
The deal appears to be another blow to AT&T, which appears to be in a losing battle to acquire spectrum assets as part of a purchase of T-Mobile USA, as well as to Sprint Nextel, which was in a wireless partnership with Cox.
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