AT&T CEO expresses interest in buying Verizon's 700MHz spectrumAlex Wagner - Senior News Editor
Back in April, Verizon revealed that if its proposed purchase of AWS spectrum from a handful of cable companies is approved, it would sell its 700MHz A and B block spectrum. Whether or not Verizon will get the approval it seeks remains to be seen, but if it does, AT&T may buy the 700MHz spectrum that Verizon would sell. Speaking at a recent event, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said that his company would be interested in Verizon's spectrum because it "pairs perfectly" with the spectrum AT&T already owns. "If we were to have access to that spectrum we could put it to work in 60 days. In 60 days that would be up and running and hot," the exec went on to say.
Verizon's possible spectrum sale isn't the only topic that Stephenson touched on during his appearance. He also said that he believes that the government needs to try and get spectrum owners to use their spectrum in the most effective way possible or to urge those owners to sell it to another company that would. Stephenson also believes that the process for building out new cell sites needs to be made easier, comparing the current zoning and permitting process to "a bad trip to the doctor" and saying that it's what causes the costs and delays with deploying a new tower to come to "a grinding halt."
Getting back to Verizon's spectrum, it's worth noting that AT&T isn't the only carrier that's eying Verizon's 700MHz spectrum. U.S. Cellular recently voiced interest in it, and in an FCC filing from last month, Verizon claimed that its sale has garnered the attention of 36 different interested parties. Of course, Verizon still needs to gain regulatory approval on its AWS spectrum purchase before it puts its 700MHz A and B block spectrum up for sale, but at least it knows that it shouldn't have much trouble finding a buyer if it does get the opportunity to offload that spectrum.