verizon xoThe Verizon XO purchase closed yesterday, giving Verizon access to valuable ultra-high-frequency 5G spectrum as well as XO’s fiber assets. The move came just one day after AT&T said it had acquired Fiber Tower, a company that calls itself a “provider of spectrum and fixed wireless services” and whose assets include ultra-high-frequency spectrum licenses.

Verizon XO Purchase  Closes
The Verizon XO deal included an agreement for Verizon to lease available spectrum in the 28-31 GHz and 39 GHz  bands held by XO’s NextLink affiliate in numerous markets with an option to buy NextLink that is exercisable under certain conditions. AT&T’s Fiber Tower assets include numerous spectrum licenses in the 24GHz and 39GHz bands.

Both moves illustrate the growing importance of 5G in wireless carriers’ infrastructure plans. 5G services are targeted to operate in ultra-high-frequency spectrum bands capable of supporting dramatically improved data speeds, albeit over relatively short distances. Although the FCC has taken steps to free up suitable spectrum for 5G, the carriers aren’t waiting for that to happen. Instead, both Verizon and AT&T have been quite aggressive in their pursuit of 5G technology, which both companies envision supporting both fixed and mobile service.

Initially Verizon was the most aggressive in pursuing 5G.   But more recently AT&T also has made some big moves on that front, including today’s announcement that the company plans to deploy 5G in Austin, Texas and Indianapolis in “coming months.”

Verizon paid $1.8 billion for XO.  Details of AT&T’s Fiber Tower purchase were not revealed.