CORRECTED (Official)-UPDATE 1-AT&T to buy NextWave for spectrum

Thu Aug 2, 2012 10:04am EDT

(Corrects debt portion of deal to $550 mln instead of $600 mln after AT&T clarification)

Aug 2 (Reuters) - AT&T Inc has agreed to buy the equity of NextWave Wireless Inc for up to $50 million in cash in an effort to expand its spectrum needed for high-speed wireless services.

In a separate agreement with NextWave's debtholders, the company's outstanding debt will be acquired by AT&T or retired by NextWave, for $5 5 0 million.

The equity portion of the deal includes a roughly $25 million payment plus a contingent payment of up to approximately $25 million, AT&T said In a statement on Thursday.

AT&T said it expects the deal, which is subject to U.S. regulatory review, to close by the end of the year. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission would need to approve the spectrum license sale and NextWave's transfer of assets may be subject to Hart-Scott-Rodino review by the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice.

Should AT&T gain all required regulatory approvals, it said it expects it would begin to use NextWave's spectrum licenses for the Wireless Communication Services (WCS) spectrum to offer high-speed services in about three years.

The WCS spectrum, which was first auctioned in 1997, has not been used for mobile Internet services because of technical rules aimed at avoiding interference with satellite radio services like those offered by Sirius XM Radio Inc.

NextWave also has licenses in the Advance Wireless Service (AWS) band.

(Reporting By Sinead Carew; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)