AT&T agreed on Thursday to purchase advanced wireless service (AWS) spectrum licensed to NextWave Wireless, Inc. for $600 million in cash. NextWave, a spinoff of Qualcomm, Inc., entered the spotlight in 1995 after posting bids of $4.74 billion in an FCC auction for 95 wireless personal communications service licenses covering a population of 94 million nationwide. NextWave’s subsequent default on its auction payments and resulting bankruptcy petition induced the FCC to revoke and reauction the licenses, triggering a high profile, multi-year legal battle that reached the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court. Agreeing with NextWave’s claim that it was protected under bankruptcy law from an FCC seizure of its assets, the high court reinstated NextWave’s licenses. (NextWave ultimately emerged from bankruptcy protection in 2005). The licenses at the heart of Thursday’s sale were acquired by NextWave during the FCC’s auction of AWS licenses in 2005. According to NextWave, the licenses in question cover a population of 212 million. Subject to FCC approval of Thursday’s transaction and a settlement agreement between AT&T and Sirius XM Radio that aims to prevent interference from adjacent AWS channels to Sirius’s satellite digital radio service operations, AT&T said it would use the NextWave licenses to boost deployment of wireless broadband services based on long term evolution (LTE) technology. In a pair of similar, yet separate transactions that also aim to boost AT&T’s LTE capabilities, AT&T also agreed to acquire wireless communications service (WCS) licenses from Comcast Corp. and from Horizon Wi-Com LLC. (Details for those transactions were not disclosed.) AT&T—which already owns 44% of licensed WCS spectrum in the U.S.—anticipates launching mobile broadband services on its newly-acquired WCS spectrum within three-and-ahalf years. Company officials also expect to complete the NextWave transaction next year.