The FCC just gave AT&T the go-ahead to buy $780 million worth of assets from Alltel. The deal includes retail stores, about 620,000 customers in the Midwest, network equipment and spectrum in the 700MHz, 850MHz and 1900MHz bands. Of course there were some strings attached to this package, including these three stipulations:
- Deploy HSPA+ and LTE in the new areas within 15 and 18 months
- AT&T must keep Alltel’s 3G EVDO network alive and kicking until at least June 15, 2015.
- AT&T also needs to make sure that every affected customer gets a comparable phone for free without a contract extension.
Seeing these kind of obligations added in order for a network acquisition to close is nothing new. However, it is awesome to see the FCC doing its job in protecting the rights of consumers, and not let AT&T do whatever it wants.