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AT&T says it's interested in Verizon's unused 700MHz spectrum

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AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has said that his company would be very interested in acquiring the 700MHz spectrum being offered by Verizon if the government approves its own acquisition of SpectrumCo's AWS holdings.

AT&T logo (STOCK)
AT&T logo (STOCK)

Speaking at a conference this week, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson indicated strong interest in the 700MHz spectrum that Verizon has offered to sell on the condition that it be allowed to buy SpectrumCo's AWS holdings — a controversial purchase that's been questioned by the FCC, Congress, and other carriers in recent weeks. He said that the offering "pairs perfectly" with AT&T's own spectrum and that it could "be up and running and hot" inside of 60 days of sale, which is just about as close to a stamp of approval on a competitor's strategic move as you're going to get. Of course, it stands to reason that a lack of government intervention on Verizon's part sets an important precedent for AT&T's strategic maneuvers and vice versa, which also explains why Verizon was largely silent throughout AT&T's attempted purchase of T-Mobile USA last year.

Whether the feds ultimately approve the SpectrumCo transaction remains unclear, but if Stephenson's words have any effect on their decision whatsoever, it seems obvious that AT&T should be held accountable for placing a bid and utilizing the spectrum within the time frame he suggests — especially since he's suggested the same.