AT&T, the biggest U.S. mobile service, said on Tuesday that it would buy the wireless airwave licenses of privately held Aloha Partners LP for about $2.5 billion.
AT&T said the licenses have coverage for a potential 196 million customers in 281 markets, including 72 of the top 100 U.S. markets in the 700-megahertz frequency band.
"Customer demand for mobile services, including voice, data and video, is continually increasing," said Forrest Miller, group president-corporate strategy and development. "Aloha's spectrum will enable AT&T to efficiently meet this growing demand and help our customers stay connected to their worlds."
Aloha had been testing the airwaves in Las Vegas for a mobile television service that could potentially compete with an offering from Qualcomm unit MediaFlo USA. It had also tested wireless high-speed data services in Phoenix.
AT&T's press release did not say how the acquisition might affect AT&T's decision about whether to participate in an upcoming government airwave auction
AT&T said it anticipated receiving necessary government approvals and closing the transaction within six to nine months.