By Ville Heiskanen
NEW YORK - Verizon Wireless, the largest U.S. mobile-phone carrier, agreed to buy wireless spectrum from a group including Comcast Corp. for $3.6 billion.
Comcast will get $2.3 billion for the sale, the companies said Friday in a statement. Other members of the selling group are Time Warner Cable Inc., which gets $1.1 billion, and Bright House Networks LLC, which will receive $189 million.
Verizon Wireless and rival AT&T Inc. are seeking to add airwaves as consumers increasingly use mobile devices to watch video and browse the Web, requiring more capacity. AT&T is struggling to gain regulatory approval for its $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA, part of the Dallas-based company’s strategy of gaining spectrum.
As part of the agreement with Verizon Wireless, cable-TV providers Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House will be able to provide wireless service to their customers, using Verizon’s network. Additionally, Verizon Wireless can sell the cable companies’ products, including pay-TV, in its stores.
Verizon Wireless is jointly owned by Verizon Communications Inc. and Vodafone Group Plc. Verizon gained 0.4 percent to $37.92 in trading before U.S. exchanges opened, and Comcast gained 4.1 percent to $23.50. Vodafone fell 0.5 percent in London.