As football fans converge on Aloha Stadium in Hawaii to wrap up a momentous season with the traditional Pro Bowl matchup, one telecom company is looking for its own Aloha spirit. AT&T
Late last year, AT&T decided to spend billions in advance of a potentially costlier foray into the current bidding war for U.S. wireless spectrum. In October, the company announced a $2.5 billion deal to acquire spectrum from privately held Aloha Partners. The purchase gave AT&T rights to spectrum that covers many major metropolitan areas, including 72 of the top 100 and all of the top 10 markets in the U.S.
So far, the bet appears to be paying off. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) just approved the purchase, stating that the acquisition served the public interest. In short, the government thinks the deal will help AT&T offer consumers more services at a cheaper price.
The FCC's approval also means that AT&T will likely be less inclined to place big bids in the current auction for more sections of the 700-MHz spectrum. Because the FCC has specified that bids will be disclosed anonymously, we only know that the companies Verizon
Past auctions tended to be dominated by large, nationwide telcos, but this time many expect a mixed cast of regional players such as Leap Wireless
No matter who walks away from the auction with which prizes, AT&T already has a plan for its Aloha spoils. The company swiftly issued a press release Wednesday detailing major expansion initiatives for its high-speed wireless network. As the FCC's spectrum auctions wrap up, it will be interesting to see whether Ma Bell is stacked up against the usual competitors or the young guns in telecom, like Google.
For more Foolishness:
Fool contributor Dave Mock played in the Little League All-Stars once, but on a dusty field far from Hawaii. He owns shares of Qualcomm and is the author of The Qualcomm Equation. The Fool's disclosure policy is an All-Star and MVP in the Western Policy Conference.