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Verizon outbids AT&T for key 5G wireless spectrum (updated)

$3.1 billion is apparently enough to acquire Straight Path Communications and its millimeter-wave radio licenses.
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Bloomberg via Getty Images

A month ago, AT&T announced it would acquire Straight Path Communications for $1.6 billion, specifically because Straight Path owns licenses to use high-frequency radio waves that will be crucial for the next generation of wireless technology. However, after that agreement, an unnamed Multi-National Telecommunications Company (that is reportedly Verizon, the owner of this website) stepped up with a bid of $3.1 billion in stock, and tonight the Wall Street Journal reports that AT&T has declined to match it.

Verizon and Straight Path have not commented yet, however, last month AT&T said it was planning to use the company's millimeter-wave (mmWave) spectrum to "accelerate the delivery of new experiences for consumers and businesses like virtual and augmented reality, telemedicine, autonomous cars, smart cities and more." At the time it said "AT&T will acquire 735 mmWave licenses in the 39 GHz band and 133 licenses in the 28 GHz band. These licenses cover the entire United States, including all of the top 40 markets."

Update: A Verizon representative declined to comment on the report.

Update 2 (5/11/17): Verizon has officially announced the deal, less than a day after reports surfaced. "Verizon will purchase Straight Path for $184 per share, or a total consideration of $3.1 billion, in an all-stock transaction. The transaction is anticipated to close within nine months, subject to FCC review," a press release on the purchase reads. For that price, the carrier gains millimeter wave spectrum ready for 5G, including 39 GHz licenses across the US and 28 GHz assets in key areas.

Straight Path 39GHz Spectrum Map

Verizon owns Engadget's parent company, AOL. Rest assured, Verizon has no control over our coverage. Engadget remains editorially independent.

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