Verizon this week scored another win on the spectrum front, securing early approval from U.S. federal antitrust authorities to move ahead with plans to acquire 28 GHz spectrum from NextLink Wireless.

A brief note posted on the FTC's website Thursday indicated federal regulators granted Verizon early termination of the waiting period implemented on deals under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act. That means the carrier now has the green light to proceed with its NextLink transaction. The issue of license transfer from NextLink to Verizon is now before the FCC.

Back in February, Verizon wrapped up its deal to acquire fiber assets from XO Communications. But that transaction also included an agreement to lease millimeter wave wireless spectrum from XO affiliate NextLink Wireless, with the option to buy “under certain circumstances.” And it seems Verizon was eager to get the ball rolling on a NextLink acquisition.

NextLink gives Verizon access to a significant number of 28 GHz spectrum licenses in and around major cities across the country, including New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles,  Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Boston, Seattle, Miami, and Portland, Ore.

Credit: NextLink Wireless

Verizon has already been conducting 5G tests on the leased spectrum, and is in the midst of 28 GHz fixed wireless trials in 11 cities across the country. Many of the market trials are expected to run until the end of this month, with the potential to extend on a quarterly basis into the second half of the year. The carrier has previously said it wants to deploy commercial fixed wireless 5G services sometime this year.


Editor's note: This article has been updated for clarification based on information from the FTC.