AT&T, the best internet and wireless carrier in the country, has announced their plans for acquiring Straight Path Communications for enhancing their 5G network. The all-stock deal is inked at a sum of $1.6 billion and remains the company’s second largest 5G network related acquisition. Also included in the deal are numerous scheduled remittances and liabilities with the Federal Communications Commission.
Straight Path Communications owns a large array of wireless spectrum licenses and is a major holder of millimeter wave spectrum ranging between 28 and 39 GHz. Besides this new acquisition, AT&T has previously bought FiberTower and its spectrum licenses. The latest move by the telecom major comes ahead of their swift measure in the nationwide deployment of 5G services.
5G is the next advanced telecommunications standard that will eventually replace the already present 4G networks. It enables internet providers to give high-speed internet that is 40 times higher than was possible through a 4G network. However, this network technology is still in its infancy and AT&T’s latest acquisition could prove a major boost to the development of this networking technology.
All the major carriers in the US have begun development of 5G for deploying it nationwide with some of them carrying out numerous pre-commercial trials. AT&T has declared its proposed plans of conducting multiple trials utilizing higher band frequencies. This new trials by the carrier will begin in the coming months using its DirecTV Now streaming service for 5G video service. In addition, the company is also proposing many fixed mobile 5G trials using the new 5G Radio specification that is progressing under 3GPP.
The acquisition of Straight Path Communications will enable the carrier to utilize its numerous millimeter-wave spectrum, which is highly necessary for the deployment of 5G network services, because of its much higher frequencies. This allows the spectrum to carry more data over shorter distances, which was previously impossible through the lower frequency spectrum.
For leveraging its current broadband network, AT&T needs to expand its fiber connectivity for making full use of its spectrum assets. Through the acquisition of Straight Path Communications, AT&T will own more frequency spectrum than its rival company Verizon Communications. With the rolling out of 5G networks, the millimeter-wave spectrum will play a crucial role in further enhancing the internet speeds, which will open up the next generation of mobile network technology.