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Leap postpones AT&T vote, earnings release

Leap Wireless today postponed a planned vote by shareholders on its pending acquisition by AT&T and the release of its third quarter financial results citing the need to file amendments to past Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Leap said the shareholder vote was moved from Oct. 24 to Oct. 30, while the financial release was moved from Oct. 29 to Nov. 8.

Leap explained that the vote and earnings release delay were needed to allow time to file amendments to its full-year 2012 10-K and quarterly 10-Q filings for the first and second quarters of this year. Those amendments are “to address a classification error in the presentation of certain capital expenditures in the consolidated statements of cash flows.”

AT&T announced in July plans to acquire Leap for about $1.2 billion in cash and the assumption of approximately $3 billion in debt. The main component of the deal for AT&T is likely Leap’s substantial spectrum holdings, which include 1.9 GHz and 1.7/2.1 GHz spectrum licenses covering approximately 137 million potential customers. AT&T has been on a spectrum buying spree as of late following its failed attempt to acquire T-Mobile USA in 2011. Those spectrum deals have included 700 MHz, 1.7/2.1 GHz and 2.3 GHz spectrum licenses.

AT&T last month closed on its acquisition of regional carrier Atlantic Tele-Network following a delay that required the carrier to provide more details on its customer integration plans. AT&T noted in a Federal Communications Commission filing that it planned to continue supporting Leap’s rate plans post-acquisition as long as a customer does not end or suspend their service “or choose to upgrade to a device or plan that is not comparable to his or her current device or plan.”

Aio going away

AT&T also noted in the filing that it would fold its recently launchedand expanded – Aio Wireless service into Leap’s Cricket brand should the deal be approved. AT&T launched the initial Aio service in May alongside its legacy GoPhone prepaid service. The Aio Wireless offering included a greater selection of smartphones as well as access to the carrier’s LTE network.

As for Leap’s spectrum assets, AT&T said it will quickly look to use Leap’s 1.7/2.1 GHz spectrum to bolster its LTE deployments, with some markets being able to tap into as much as 20 megahertz of total 1.7/2.1 GHz spectrum. AT&T’s initial LTE rollout has relied on its 700 MHz spectrum holdings, with plans to add the 1.7/2.1 GHz spectrum in order to bolster capacity. The carrier is also using some of its 1.9 GHz spectrum to support LTE in select markets, with plans to have that network up and running in at least six markets by the end of the year, including Washington, D.C.; Baltimore; Dallas; Philadelphia; New York; and San Francisco.

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