Verizon Wireless said on Thursday that it had signed an agreement with NextWave Telecom Inc. to purchase all of its airwave licenses for $3 billion.
Verizon said the licenses cover 23 markets around the United States, and would be acquired through the purchase of Nextwave after it completes its bankruptcy reorganization, when Verizon says it will have no assets other than the licenses.
Hawthorne, New York-based NextWave filed for bankruptcy in 1998 when it found itself unable to pay the $4.7 billion price tag for 95 airwaves licenses it won in a 1996 U.S. auction.
In October, NextWave indicated in a court filing that it had been preparing alternative plans for its emergence from bankruptcy protection. It sold some licenses and gave others back to the government.
According to Verizon, it will buy 10 and 20 MHz frequency licenses from NextWave that will cover a population of 73 million people.
“The licenses will be used to expand Verizon Wireless’ network capacity in 22 key existing markets, including New York, Boston, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, as well as to expand the company’s footprint into Tulsa, Oklahoma,” Verizon said in a statement.