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Verizon trading beachfront spectrum for penthouse airwaves

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Verizon Wireless(s vz)(s vod) has long talked up its extensive 700 MHz holdings as the crème-de-la-crème of 4G spectrum, referring to them on numerous occasions as “beachfront property,” compared to the more modest spectral real-estate many of its competitors own. But on Wednesday Verizon revealed it planned to sell off many of its beachfront 700 MHz licenses in exchange for permission to buy the very same low-rent spectrum it’s derided in the past.

At Verizon’s earnings call Thursday, CFO Fran Shammo tried to explain the logic behind that move, claiming that the Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) airwaves it’s buying from its cable partners is better suited to the kind of urban capacity infill Verizon will embark on in the next phase of its LTE rollout.

Shammo also countered claims that Verizon was merely hoarding spectrum to keep it out of its competitors’ hands. When Verizon picked up all of…

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