By Nina Trentmann
Verizon Communications Inc. is raising $25 billion in new debt to help the cellphone carrier settle a bill for spectrum licenses coming due this month.
The telecommunications company in February won more than half of the wireless airwaves offered in a U.S. government auction and pledged $45.5 billion for them, plus roughly $8 billion in additional clearing payments to help existing license users move to other bands. The new spectrum rights could help Verizon expand the reach and bandwidth of its fifth-generation wireless offering.
Verizon paid a first installment of $8.2 billion to the Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday, and will use the proceeds of the latest bond sale to pay the roughly $36.4 billion owed to the FCC by March 24, Chief Financial Officer Matthew Ellis said.
Verizon, the country's largest carrier in terms of subscribers, theoretically has enough funds to pay the FCC even without the bond sale. The company in late February agreed to a $25 billion term-loan facility with a consortium of banks that it can draw down on if needed, Mr. Ellis said. Verizon also has some money left from a $12 billion bond sale in November and could use those funds for the second payment to the FCC, Mr. Ellis said.
The company held $22.2 billion in cash on the balance sheet at the end of December, plus an undrawn credit facility of $9.4 billion, according to ratings company Fitch Ratings.
On top of the nearly $54 billion for 5G licenses and related items, Verizon told investors Wednesday that it plans a total of $10 billion in capital expenditures for expanding its midband, or C-band, range over the next three years, a swath of airwaves that previously were restricted to satellite communications.
(MORE TO COME)
Drew FitzGerald contributed to this article
Write to Nina Trentmann at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires