Michelle Clancy ©RapidTVNews | 09-08-2011

AT&T is urging the FCC, the US telecom regulator, to go ahead and approve its $1.93 billion acquisition of Qualcomm's FLO TV spectrum.

The deal is for the now-defunct service's prime 700 MHz spectrum, which AT&T aims to use for an LTE capacity boost to support mobile video and other bandwidth-intensive activities.

The merger has passed the 180-day mark for approval, stymied by concern by competitors over AT&T's seemingly concerted effort to consolidate vast swaths of the advanced services-friendly 700 band. Cincinnati Bell Wireless, MetroPCS, NTELOS, the Rural Cellular Association and Sprint see the move as potentially monopolistic given AT&T's planned takeover of wireless carrier T-Mobile USA. They would like the FCC to consolidate them into one review that also includes the telco's planned acquisition of 40 additional individual licences.

The FLO deal is simply "part of AT&T's overall campaign to amass nationwide swathes of spectrum," they argued.

AT&T announced the planned acquisition in December 2010. It has now filed an official nudge: "AT&T noted that the above-referenced transaction has been pending for almost 180 days. AT&T urged the expeditious grant of the transaction application."

FLO would be a big boon to the famously capacity-stretched carrier. The network covers 300 million people across the country, including 70 million people in the top-tier markets of New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Francisco.