AT&T spends $2.5b for 12 MHz across 200m people in the 700 MHz band: Let's talk two-steps-ahead. In the terms for the C Block licenses that Google wanted very open and Verizon and AT&T wanted to have cell-spectrum-like restrictions, AT&T did a volte-face and said it would agree to most of the openness that Google wanted. Huh, I said, I wonder what made them do that? Well, it's gamesmanship. AT&T was obviously already in a position to acquire Aloha Partners's licenses.
This means that AT&T is reverse-encumbering the other band. While the C Block involves more bandwidth and greater coverage, Verizon is now in a worse position because of the lack of device and application lock-in if they choose to bid in 700 MHz as AT&T will already have holdings. AT&T can have the flexibility to deploy different services in the different 700 MHz blocks. I think. Comments welcome.
What did AT&T actually Buy??
Keep in mind that Aloha had the following Lower 700Mhz Spectrum Licenses:
C Block License (12Mhz) in CMA Areas.
Aloha had 76 (of 734) Licenses in the CMA key US markets and spent $83.9 Million to get them (BARGAIN). Nice Market chunk covering major population centers but by no means a Nationwide License. This would be a viable Two Way Broadband Distribution network for AT&T, and allow them to offload some of the bandwidth intense services (Data/Video/VoiceIP) from their UMTS/HSDPA network.
They could also improve on this (Coverage) by bidding/winning an additional & continguous 12 Mhz spectrum in the B Block (CMA)markets they do not now own being auctioned by the FCC in 2008.
That would give them a solid 24Mhz of 4G ready bandwidth for a TRUE Broadband Wireless network to compete with Verizon Wireless and Sprint WiMAX.
D Block License (6Mhz) in EAG areas.
No mention of this slice of the spectrum ALoha has in all the announcements. This license looks to cover a Nationwide Market
This would be an excellent TV Broadcast License allowing them to use a 50,000 Watt Broadcast signal in the 6Mhz slice offering 20-30 Channels of TV.
Aloha Partners only won 1 (D Block) EAG License and that was for the PAcific region.