AT&T Inc said Friday it has agreed to buy wireless airwaves from Verizon Wireless for $1.9 billion in cash and spectrum licenses in five markets.

AT&T said the licenses it is buying cover a population of 42 million people in 18 U.S. states.

It expects to close the deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, in the second half of 2013.

Verizon Wireless is a venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group Plc .

(Reporting by Sinead Carew; Editing by Bernadette Baum)