It was announced on 10th April 2017 that the telecom giant, AT&T, will be acquiring Straight Path Communications for $1.6 Billion. This comes as a part of an effort by AT&T to expand on 5G spectrum holdings.

Straight Path was a company that was made to own the 5G spectrum. It had 735 mm-Wave licenses in the 39 GHz frequency band and another 133 licenses in the 28 GHz frequency band. Both of these bands fall into the high-frequency bandwidth that 5G technology focuses on to transmit data.

Straight Path Bought by AT&T
Straight Path Bought by AT&T

The spectrums it had were some of the best suited for further 5G development. As per AT&T, the newly acquired spectrum band covers the entirety of the United States and will be used to roll out 5G services in the future. This is part of a greater effort by AT&T to own as much 5G spectrum as it can. In February, AT&T acquired FiberTower.

This gave it little coverage area in the 24 GHz and 39 GHz frequency bands. Overall, carriers and service providers are fast at work gaining as much part of the future 5G spectrum as they can. Verizon recently acquired XO Communications and gained 28GHz and 39 GHz bandwidth in the 5G spectrum.

The Dish Network gained a spectrum in the 28 GHz band by giving some of its assets to Echo Star. The FCC also plans to provide licensed use in 28 GHz, 37 GHz, and 39 GHz bands. It will also offer unlicensed use in 64-71 GHz band and shared use in 37-37.6 GHz band. This will allow companies to start testing 5G technology.

Internationally, however, the 5G spectrum’s use has yet to get a standard from organizations such as the ITU (International Telecomm Union) and the 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project). The 5G field of communication is still young and it is still too early to say when it will be ready yet all the major carriers are getting ready to explore it.


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