Good News! FCC votes in favor of spectrum auction restrictions

4g-uk-auction

The FCC today voted in favor of a decision which will restrict how much spectrum AT&T and Verizon will be able to acquire in next year’s major airwave auction.

“In a 3-2 vote along party lines, the Federal Communications Commission approved the plan that would reserve part of the spectrum in each market for wireless carriers that do not already have substantial blocks of low-frequency airwaves there, largely restricting Verizon and AT&T participation.”

The vote essentially allows the FCC to put a policy in place which would restrict how much spectrum a carrier can acquire. By reserving a percentage for carriers who don’t have the resources, and don’t currently own a lot of low-frequency airwaves, it stops Verizon and AT&T from using their superior buying power to take all of it.

For the past few weeks, Verizon, AT&T and even political parties have lobbied extensively to stop the bill from being passed. At one point, AT&T even threatened to pull out of the spectrum auction altogether. An empty threat, from a company which needs more spectrum to free up its network.

This announcement will come as sweet relief to T-Mobile and Sprint, both of whom have lobbied and put forward their arguments for the proposed changes to go through. Thankfully got Team Magenta, members of the FCC agree that giving the smaller carriers a better chance will promote healthier competition.

Via: Yahoo! Finance

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  • Paul

    Winner winner,
    Spectrum for dinner!!

    • Cam Bunton

      Hehehe.. You actually made me laugh out loud.

      • Paul

        Then my job is done, and I’m good with the number of up-likes.

    • Doble-A

      I’m glad it’s no merger, and T-Mobile gets to eat a spectrum hamburger.

  • Garblicks

    All hell is gonna break loose on a few yrs if tmobile is able to service over 300 mil plus people. The writing is on the wall for Sprint. Low band spectrum plus low prices. I see alot of the big two customers switching within 3 yrs. Question is will tmobile network be able to handle 75 million plus users

    • Austin

      Yes. Yes it can.

    • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

      If you mean the back-haul, that’s the easy part.

      • philyew

        Can you elaborate a little?

        • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

          Carriers typically contract out from the many wholesale Internet providers to connect the towers to a network.

        • philyew

          Which is fine, as long as those third parties have service already to the tower. However, getting a fiber drop to some rural locations can be anything but easy, and microwave isn’t always an alternative option because of climate and/or terrain.

        • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

          I doubt that TMO intends to get additional 75 million customers only or primarily from rural areas, where, as you stated, the options to connect the towers are more limited and so tend to be more expensive.

        • philyew

          I see your point. The total size of the market outside of TM’s current HSPA+/LTE footprint is less than 90 million, so the vast majority of any future growth will come in urban and suburban areas.

          Frankly the idea is a bit of a straw man anyway, I don’t think TM expect to grow anything like even half of that 75 million organically. Maybe if the political climate changes and they are allowed to combine with Sprint, but then their network footprint would be very different anyway.

          We shouldn’t overextend our expectations. While they are talking about bringing LTE to their entire footprint in the coming year, that doesn’t mean blanket coverage. Their native network covers 290 million according to a tweet I received from Mike Seivert, TM’s CFO. That means there are other areas which are home to 24 million POPs plus a whole lot of routes in between with virtually no population that have no coverage. TM uses ~50,000 cell sites to deliver their network, but there are many more needed (and already used by other carriers) to deliver service to the areas currently sitting outside TM’s native footprint.

    • Stefan Naumowicz

      As it is, no. But they will boost capacity accordingly as they have been all along.

  • UMA_Fan

    This essentially kills a Tmobile/Sprint merger in the short term. I’m sure the powers that be were waiting on the decisions of this to decide whether to move forward.

  • sushimane

    Does this mean no merger haha I’m happy that the FCC did the spectrum restrictions but I don’t wanna see T-Mobile and sprint to merge haha.

  • bisayan

    Verizon & Att troll’s will come here and flooded with comments in 3….2…..1…. Lolz

  • D Velasquez

    Verizon and at&t tears are like music to my ears, ahhh, do you hear that? Is the echo for all the crying and whining from both companies throwing a tantrum like little kids.

    • Verizonthunder

      No their to busy looking at their bank accounts

  • http://gamesitecenter.com Wolf

    As much as I like this, I’m more pissed off that the FCC passed the rules today allowing “Fast Lanes” in regards to Net Neutrality. Realistically, we’re all screwed.

  • Nathan S.

    Tmobile needs to buy as much spectrum as it is allowed and then smash Sprint into the ground. Once they are down, tmobile can swoop in and buy them for next to nothing and step up as a strong number 3 in the Nation.

    • KingCobra

      The way things are looking right now, T-Mobile will be number 3 before the end of this year anyway.

      • Danny Lewis

        According to FierceWireless, In Q4 2013, Sprint had 8.4 million more subs. In Q1 2014, Sprint only has 5.5 million more subs! Outstanding!

        • sushimane

          Still at the end of day sprint only have 54.6 million while T-Mobile has 49.1 million and growing. Just saying

        • Danny Lewis

          Yeah… I was implying that the gap is closing. In just one quarter, the gap narrowed by 2.9 million subs. I hope the momentum continues!

        • sushimane

          oh yeah me too. if next q2 is better or equal to the q1 it would be difficult for the fcc or doj to really accept any merger if they see the underdog tmobile being number 3. but in the previous article cam said the fcc might be a little more accepting a merger im gonna cross my fingers that they stick to their guns and keep their words on having four national carrier instead of 3.

        • bkin94

          If you listen to the invester calls, it’s pretty clear that even optimistically, Q2 won’t be nearly as good as Q1. they downplay expectations for Q2 both in the Q1 earnings call, and in the investor thingy that happened today

        • Felipe Bigio

          Where did u see that???, because that I know of crappy sprint lost customer for those 2 quarters.

  • KingCobra

    T-Mobile getting low band spectrum is sure to really piss off AT&T/VZW. It will really be interesting to see what they do once their rural coverage advantage is taken away.

    • Cam Bunton

      Well yeah. And the frustrating thing is that VZW doesn’t need low-band spectrum, but you can bet it would have walked away with more than anyone else if these restrictions weren’t put in place, just to stop the competition.

      • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

        At this point, VZW would buy such spectrum just because it could… and to use as a stick on other carriers to further the virtual cartel in the mobile market.

        • Volker

          Can you blame them? If it was my business I would too. Now as a T-Mobile customer and consumer in general, I’m totally against it for the obvious reasons, but it would make good business sense. The United Way is a great charity, but VZW isn’t a charity, it’s a for-profit business. Food for thought…

        • philyew

          Which is why the Department of Justice reminded the FCC yesterday of its established position on “foreclosure strategy” (i.e. buying up resources to stop the competition, rather than to serve a direct need).

        • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

          Yes, I can, because they are abusing their position in an oligopolistic way in order to limit my choices. It may benefit its investors, but it does not benefit consumers. All this with in collusion with the state, which allows any buyer of the spectrum that it puts up for auction to get it all, which was supposed to make sure that the market is free.

        • Fr0stTr0n

          VZW isn’t God and sure as hell doens’t deserve to have that kinda power, get over it.

      • bkin94

        To be fair, I usually try to use all the houses in monopoly so others can’t…

        on a serious note, I don’t think it’s fair to say they don’t need the spectrum. From what i heard, any carrier can always use more spectrum

        • Cam Bunton

          Yeah, Verizon needs spectrum. But it needs higher frequency a lot more than it needs the low-end.

        • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

          Why does it need more spectrum in the higher end than in the lower end. No one likes the higher end, not radio stations, not TV stations, not mobile carriers. For the simple reason that it takes more power to operate and its covers a smaller area. For less money, more customers are covered at the lower end, that’s why it’s so coveted, first by radio stations, later by TV stations, and now by carriers.

        • philyew

          Lower frequency bandwidth runs out of capacity more quickly. In more densely populated areas, where coverage range is less of an issue, a combination of low frequency to handle building penetration and mid-range (PCS, AWS) helps to address the rapidly expanding volume of data being transacted.

        • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

          Running out of bandwidth is not particular to lower frequencies, but to any frequency. What determines the performance for a given available spectrum band is the modulation used and it’s independent of the carrier frequency.

          But, I see your point. There can be only so many users in a given band and so a carrier may need to expand to another band to increase its bandwidth.

          Thanks.

  • shadlom

    Awesome!

  • Jay J. Blanco

    It’s the dawn of a new age for the small guys today. Can’t wait until tmobile expands and provide the 4% with a real choice of who provides their wireless service. In your face AT&T and Verizon. They better be prepared for a real price war next year. T-Mobile will be #3 in 2015!

  • Nick Gonzalez

    We’ve won the battle, but not the war.

  • Maximus

    With this decision, TMO/Sprint definitely do not HAVE to merge. As TMO continues to improve the breadth and quality of their network, their subs will increase substantially. We will be hearing about proposals for TMO to buy out Sprint. Either way, VZW and ATT have to be seriously concerned or at least will have to be more mindful of pricing, strategy, promotions, etc.

    • fsured

      Just curious here with my question. A few people keep mentioning T-Mobile buying Sprint when/if the T-Mobile moves into the 3rd position. If part of the objection to this deal now is the FCC wanting 4 carriers, how would T-Mobile buying Sprint be any different since it would still be the 3rd and 4th companies combining leaving 3 companies?

      • Maximus

        The difference would be a good, viable company buying a dying, unpopular company as opposed to the other way around. I don’t think the FCC so as much against having 3 carriers, but more so Sprint being the third carrier.

        • philyew

          Can you point to any action or comment from the FCC which supports this conclusion?

  • Aurizen

    so… when are the spectrum auctions?

    • bkin94

      2015

  • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

    I wonder if Sprint would now turn around and call those bankers it’s been talking to and repurpose the loan to buy TMO for spectrum instead…

    • Chardog

      Don’t think they’d go for that.. Buy a fully baked company that is being successful, only a moderate risk. Buy more spectrum when you can’t effectively deploy/manage the network portfolio you have, poor risk..

  • DDLAR

    The article needs a correction. The FCC did not “restrict how much spectrum a carrier can acquire”. The FCC is restricting how much LOW BAND spectrum a carrier can acquire.

    • fsured

      Not sure I follow. This restriction is on the upcoming low band spectrum auction only. If carriers want to acquire more low band spectrum though other means they certainly can.

      • Cam Bunton

        Exactly. This is to do with one specific auction next year. The major low-end spectrum auction.

        • philyew

          Actually, the decision had three elements:

          1) Transactions which would result in the buyer owning approximately 1/3 the available spectrum or more (any band), where the elements to be included in the spectrum screen were modified.

          2) Transactions specifically in the sub 1GHz range, where the resulting ownership of “approximately 1/3 or more of available low-band spectrum will be an “enhanced factor” in the competitive analysis of a proposed transaction”, and

          3) The upcoming auctions, where there are to be no special rules for AWS, but limits for 600 MHz.

  • DirkDigg1er

    I don’t understand how this is good news if the FCC is setting aside less spectrum than originally expected for smaller carriers.

    Also, Sprint and T-mobile are also being threatened to get the spectrum pulled if they proceed with merging.

    • K

      I don’t think it is completely good news. I think with this decision, it does put more of an onus on Sprint to provide a really really good proposition to the DOJ/FCC to allow a merger to take place. Probably along the lines of giving up a bunch of spectrum in the process. Or having restrictions put on the new company. My guess is from a regulatory perspective, there would be too many loopholes to jump through, in order to come up with a viable business proposition for a merger.

  • GinaDee

    The FCC proposed setting aside a spectrum reserve. This does not automatically mean T-Mobile wins these licenses.

    They have to bid with other smaller providers and/or investors and they have to win them.

    I worry with this reserve that the auction will be a mess. Full of hodgepodge purchases market to market not allowing T-Mobile (or any other carrier) to get full nationwide ubiquitous spectrum. T-Mobile pushed to allow small 5×5 slices to be auctioned so practically anyone could buy these who qualify.

    Then besides the billions needed to pay for the spectrum there is the cost of deployment. I’m hoping T-Mobile can attract some form of cash infusion so they don’t fall into serious debt.

  • vrm

    read the fine print- even if they ATTEMPT to merge, the rules will be rewritten so if t-mobile courts any offer from sprint, they will lose 600 mhz but sprint may still be able to compete with att/vz in the auction.

    Sprint may follow this course simply to keep tmobile from getting any 600 mhz.

    • philyew

      The FCC’s words in their press release are:

      “Finally, the Commission clarified that the rules it adopted today are based on current market structure, and that it reserves the right to modify the rules based on significant market changes, including proposed transactions.”

      http://www.fcc{dot}gov/document/fcc-adopts-revised-mobile-spectrum-holdings-policies

      Can you give a link to anything more specific than that, because I certainly don’t see the detail you have suggested in the FCC’s words?

  • Justin Merithew

    With how quick John Legere is to boast and trashtalk on Twitter I’m surprised he hasn’t posted about this yet. The cynical part of me thinks that Sprint and T-Mo both were hoping this would get blocked so they’d have more leverage to get the merger pushed through.

    • princedannyb

      It isn’t as much spectrum being set aside as T-Mobile had hoped.

  • marcos21

    You know what is funny is that sprint doesn’t offer unlimited data if you go after 5GB because they will slow you down on congested areas. For the heavy users so sprint will go bankrupt with in a year. Here it is on there website. http://www.sprint.com/legal/open_internet_information.htlm

  • marcos21
  • Guest

    I hate that “along party lines” has now found it’s way to the FCC.
    That being said; the government isn’t the only place tyrants (AT&T and Verizon) can be found.

    Anyhoo, at least the FCC got this one right.
    Now if we could just get them to stop from allowing ISPs to charge content providers for faster speeds.

  • mark2819775

    I think sprint is going to go bankrupt because they slow down there users when they go over there 5GB it is on there website on the top five users that why I think T-Mobile is going to be number 3 Carrier and sprint go bankrupt just go to there website. http://www.sprint.com/legal/open_internet_information.html

    • jeremyvbk

      Only going to happen on congested towers. So not everyone will experience it.

      • mark2819775

        Are you sure when everybody is using so it will be congested when it is unlimited Data

      • Stefan Naumowicz

        What sprint towers ARENT congested? Its the most severely overloaded network in the world.

        • jeremyvbk

          In some markets yes they are congested. Every market is different. I ha e yet to see congested towers in most of Texas. Hell I’m hitting 35mbps on band 26, And band 25. While Tmobile is barely over 10-15mbps at max. And sprint has more sub’s here than Tmobile. Now New Orleans is overloaded. A few more sites could be added to help out, but from what I understand all carriers have issues there. Tmobile is barely existent from users that I know.

        • mark2819775

          I doesn’t matter just look up the like I put on Sprint’s website if you use more than 5GB then they are going throttle you because you are the top 5 percent because the tower is no conjusted. You went over the limit just go through there website that I posted up on my fist link

        • jeremyvbk

          That is false. It is not really throttling but network management. It will only happen when a tower is getting sub prime performance for a majority user. You will not have reduced speeds on a cell site if there is no congestion. You do not know the facts. You are spreading false info to make sprint look worse. Get s life, and stop trying to lie yourself and others into believing false info. Not everyone will be throttled past 5GB

        • mark2819775

          I get 64 Mbps on my T-Mobile and 15 to 20 up on download speeds that’s my highest my average is about 30 to 40 Mbps and 15 up that is better than sprint Here is a link http://www.speedtest.net/my-result/a/814102676

        • RGV user

          I beg to differ, Sprint is horrible in the Rio Grande Valley. 4G LTE is available but when I had Sprint, full signal with LTE only got me 2 mbps download speeds. 0.5 upload speeds. Not only there but in San Antonio and Austin Tx, where supposedly their “New” Spark Network has launched. I can easily get over 30 mbps with T-Mobile LTE. I can stream a video without hesitation. Sprint would buffer while it was on LTE.

        • jeremyvbk

          And here I have had sprint 3g run faster than tmobile LTE. And depending on the phone, The signal bars relay voice strength not Data signal strength. You could have had fringe LTE and you may never know it. And guess what I am pulling 20-30 here on two seperate LTE bands. Actually faster than verizon, and is up to par with AT&T. Oh and if you knew you require a spark enabled device, and it depends on location. I was pulling 50+Mbps in San antonio. SO yeah You just seem to be testing your speeds in very poor places only. You know when you set up an expectation of failure for something you will almost always get it. Constant nagging about how “slow” spint is, it will only bring out the slower speeds. But it reality they have very Fast LTE. If I can download 15 GB of movies in an hour or so then I am very content. Oh and do not get me started on how I am in a LTE area, with no signal in the immediate 2+mile diameter

        • RGVuser

          No of course I didn’t know, I was only using a Galaxy Note 3. Speeds were still crap North Austin, Pflugerville to be exact with Sprint Spark. Someone who was loyal to Sprint for almost 9 years, nagging? No sir, it’s called being fed up to pay for services that rarely work. Sprint was good until this whole start of 4G network ever since then it went down the drain! I’m pleased with my T-Mobile LG Flex and my constant speeds. Not the hit and miss speeds.

        • jeremyvbk

          Well the Note 3 was not spark capable,so that would be why you never saw spark speeds. Also since it did not have band 26 it was stuck on a over crowded band 25. Yes the major cities do have band 25 over crowding but more and being shifted over to band 26. Try sprint with a spark enable device or a nexus on the .15 baseband you would be surprised what you would see there. I literally just went there two weeks ago and I was watching YouTube all the way no issues

        • jeremyvbk

          Yeah your note 3 was not spark capable. It is only capable of band 25. If you had spark enabled device you would be able to get faster service. Band 26 and band 41 will make speeds a lot more consistent. It will take time for the consumer to get a spark enabled device. So don’t expect spark speeds without a spark device!

        • jeremyvbk

          And yet here I’ve had Sprint 3g funning faster than Tmobile LTE. So yeah also depending on device signal bars relay voice signal strength not data strength. So you could only be accessing it while you have fringe LTE signal.

        • Stefan Naumowicz

          That’s not at all true, signal bars show the strength of whatever network type your connected to. When you place a call if your on LTE it will disconnect and then reconnect to 3g. Until that happens, your phone is connected only to LTE and the signal strength depicts the quality of that signal only

        • jeremyvbk

          That would be false on the newer android updates/phones they relay actual data signal strength. But not all up phones do on a single band device such as the note 3 on sprint It is connected to 1X and LTE at the same time. Hence why most single band LTE devices on Sprint relay voice signal.

        • jeremyvbk

          It keeps deleting my response. On most single band LTE devices it relays the 1X signal. It was connected to LTE and 1X at the same time. So yes it does show the voice signal. IPhone and triband devices are excluded from this because of only one RF pathway.

  • Guest

    timonews

  • princedannyb

    This is good news, but it is only 10-30mhz of spectrum being reserved nation wide. It is not just T-Mobile that wants this spectrum, they will be competing against Sprint, Dish, and US Cellular as well as other regional carriers. I think that T-Mobile should only participate in the aws-3 auction in major markets where they don’t have enough spectrum for 20+20 LTE and save the rest if their money for the 600mhz auction. T-Mobile is going to have to be willing to really pull out the checkbook so that they can have atleast 20mhz of low band spectrum nation wide. I will be visiting the T-Mobile headquarters on the 23rd of June and will try to find out what their plans are for the 600mhz auction.

    • Jay J. Blanco

      T-Mobile can also compete with the two big boys. They don’t necessarily have to go for the reserve amount

    • DirkDigg1er

      Any way you slice it, T-mobile has a real problem on hand.

  • You make me cry TmoNews

    Why do you delete my comments?

    • philyew

      Did you include links to other articles? If so, they may be simply awaiting moderation before they are published.

      Substitute {dot} for one of the dots in an address and the comment will appear unhindered.

  • Wilfredo Martinez

    Good job FCC, this will definitely increase competition among wireless carriers.

  • jeremyvbk

    I believe sprint will come out with more spectrum this way. They will have the larger pockets of Softbank to ensure they get nation wide 600mhz. Tmobile might end up with bits and pieces. And sprint will have pockets of enhanced 600 because of the rural operator deal they are doing

    • sushimane

      T-mobile has a higher chance on getting a good chucks Of 600mhz. Yeah sprint has Softbank but T-Mobile got DT. sprint/Softbank having a tough time gaining customers now their deep in the hole in debt but T-Mobile on the other hand has been gaining and more profitable each passing quarter. In my opinion

      • jeremyvbk

        So Softbank has some pretty deep pockets, and would be willing dig deeper than DT. Just because you were losing subscribers, does not mean they won’t be willing to invest more. Tmobile may be having an increase in “profitability” but still is in the red. This auction could hurt them if they spent too much. All it takes is them to pay excess and people not want to stay, and well they are gone. Sprint has the deeper pickets for this one, and a power hungry Son will want his full share until the FCC says no more

        • KingCobra

          T-Mobile doesn’t really need all that much though. If they can get say a 20-30 mhz slice, it would be enough to provide the rural coverage needed to compete. Capacity isn’t really needed in rural areas, just enough for customers to be able to stream radio and use navigation would satisfy most consumers.

        • jeremyvbk

          If they need just enough for navigation and streaming radio, than a 10mhz slice would be plenty efficient. And it will be used for building penetration and such. Sprint should gobble up 30mhz. And that will be an amazing overlay on top off the other three bands.

        • DirkDigg1er

          Do you think Tmo can afford that much spectrum?

        • Jarobusa

          T-Mobile will be lucky to afford 10 MHz let alone 30 mhz.

        • Durandal_1707

          If they can get say a 20-30 MHz slice? 30 MHz is all there *is*! To get 30 MHz, T-Mobile would have to completely outbid *every* other competitor. Even 20 MHz is a huge stretch IMO.

    • KingCobra

      Sprint will be hurt by the spectrum rules that the FCC is implementing too. Since 2.5 Ghz will count against their spectrum allowance, Sprint might not even be allowed to get more than AT&T/VZW because they have more spectrum than anyone.

      • philyew

        The overall spectrum limits apply to “transactions”, but there is a separate rule for auctions. Here’s what the FCC press release actually said:

        “Today, the Federal Communications Commission adopted a Report and Order revising rules for its mobile spectrum holding policies. Access to spectrum, particularly low-band spectrum, is essential for the provision of mobile wireless services. Today’s action will promote more competition in more markets, and facilitate consumers having more choices of wireless providers, lower prices, and higher quality mobile service.

        The Commission’s decision addressed mobile spectrum policies in three interrelated areas.First, with respect to reviews of proposed transactions, the Commission added and removed spectrum to the screen to reflect spectrum that is currently suitable and available for mobile broadband. If a proposed
        transaction would result in a wireless provider holding approximately 1/3 or more of available spectrum licenses in a given market, that transaction will continue to trigger a more detailed, case-by-case competitive analysis by the Commission.

        Second, with respect to transactions involving low-band (below 1 GHz) spectrum, the Commission will continue to use a case-by-case review of these transactions. Aggregation of approximately 1/3 or more of available low-band spectrum will be an “enhanced factor” in the competitive analysis of a proposed transaction.

        Third, with respect to auctions, the Commission set policies for the upcoming AWS-3 and Broadcast Television Spectrum Incentive Auction. Specifically, the Commission set no auction-specific spectrum aggregation limits for qualified bidders in the AWS-3 auction, regardless of their existing spectrum holdings. In addition, the Commission will not require any post-auction divestitures.

        The Commission set reasonable spectrum aggregation rules that promote competition for the Broadcast Television Spectrum Incentive Auction, tailored to encourage participation by both small and large providers and to ensure no one or two providers can “run the table”. The Commission will make a
        significant amount of spectrum available to all bidders in all markets. To promote competition, the rules establish a market-based reserve of no more than 30 megahertz of spectrum targeted for providers that hold less than 1/3 of available low-band spectrum in a license area.

        Finally, the Commission clarified that the rules it adopted today are based on current market structure, and that it reserves the right to modify the rules based on significant market changes, including proposed transactions.”

        Unless, the transaction rules are applied to auctions as well, Sprint’s 2.5GHz spectrum won’t have any bearing on the 600MHz auction. Applying transaction rules to the auction would contradict their clear statement that “access to spectrum, particularly low-band spectrum, is essential for the provision of mobile wireless services.”

        • guest

          Great info! Thanks!

      • Stefan Naumowicz

        The FCC restrictions only limit the amount of low band spectrum an operator can have. The amount of high band owned by sprint has no bearing on that.

        • philyew

          Actually, if you look at the excerpt from the FCC press release that followed the meeting (posted immediately below), you will see that there are considerations relating to the total ownership of wireless spectrum, regardless of the band.

      • DirkDigg1er

        VZ/T are going to get the lionshare of spectrum whether there is a spectrum screen or not.

  • randian

    Verizon hardly needs more low-band spectrum anyway. Didn’t they just complete a deal for a bunch of high-band spectrum?

    • JosephLagalla

      Verizon got some from Tmo. I think it was ATT who just bought a bunch from Sprint.

    • KingCobra

      It about buying it so that other carriers can’t get it. Coverage is their competitive advantage. They’re trying to maintain that advantage.

      • guest

        Some simple yet so true…

  • http://aikenareaprogressive.blogspot.com/ jovan1984

    Now, Sprint and T-Mob should be able to get some spectrum that will penetrate through towns like Bamberg, S.C.

    • Jay J. Blanco

      With T-Mobile There’s two large gaps not covered in SC. Outside of Camden and in the low country. I hate roaming in my own state

      • D Nice

        Alright now another carolinian. Over the past 12 months the buildout up this way has been crazy. LTE is starting to pop up in Burlington NC. Soon one could drive from Charlotte to Raleigh with uninterrupted LTE signal. Do you guys have US Cellular?

        • KingCobra

          Yeah the holes between Raleigh and Charlotte right now are pretty annoying. Mainly the spot between Burlington and Chapel Hill along I-40.

        • D Nice

          Yes you are correct. I went to the mountains back in October (up towards Boone) I was surprised to see LTE/HSPA as far as Wilkesboro. Seems the coverage in this region as a whole is getting better and better.

        • Jay J. Blanco

          Well I hope soon we have lte on I-77 I hate riding to Carowinds with Edge. Same on I-20 coming to Florence and I95 to Fayetteville. Just horrible. No U.S. Cellular in SC.

        • D Nice

          I think things are on the right path. I was surprised about getting LTE I’m Myrtle Beach. Hopefully things will get better looking at the auctions coming up.

        • Jay J. Blanco

          Yeah Myrtle Beach is a hot tourist destination so of course they’re going to get lte lpl. And yeah I hope so because 2G kills me.

        • Jay J. Blanco

          Yeah Myrtle Beach is a hot tourist destination so of course they’re going to get lte lol. And yeah I hope so because 2G kills me.

        • D Nice

          That’s true. So does Columbia have LTE?

        • Jay J. Blanco

          Yeah 5x5mhz. Hope 10×10 is coming soon. We get hspa speeds most of the time.
          SC 4G Markets:
          Rock Hill
          Columbia
          Charleston
          Florence
          Myrtle Beach
          Spartanburg
          Greenville
          Anderson
          Clemson
          Aiken
          Hilton Head Island

        • D Nice

          Wow had no idea it was in the many markets as far as LTE/HSPA goes.

        • Jay J. Blanco

          Yeah they been expanding lte alright. I’m ready for the 2G upgrade lol

        • http://aikenareaprogressive.blogspot.com/ jovan1984

          You forgot Orangeburg. I had 4G there in April.

        • Jay J. Blanco

          Oh wow. I knew Orangeburg had HSPA but not LTE. That’s cool

    • http://www.t-mobile.com Big-Myke Kanuri

      WHO? WHERE? NO WHERE LAND? LOL

  • Joe Wireless

    Why are people acting like softbank(sprint) & deutsche telecom(t-mobile) need help from the government to buy spectrum. These are multi-billion $ global corporations with DEEP international pockets. This spectrum decision by the FCC is a bunch of BS.

    • http://aikenareaprogressive.blogspot.com/ jovan1984

      There are laws against monopolies and antitrust in the US. AT&T and Verizon monopolized the previous spectrum auction in 2009. That’s why the government put the rules in place to prevent a repeat of that episode.

      • GinaDee

        To be fair neither Sprint or T-Mobile participated in the 700 MHz auction and it wasn’t because they couldn’t.

        Corporations are for profit not for consumer welfare.

        • philyew

          It depends how you define “couldn’t”.

          When the 700MHz auction took place in 2008, TM were still sitting on $4+ billion worth of AWS spectrum that they had bought in 2006, but it couldn’t be deployed because the previous occupants had dragged their feet vacating it.

          They didn’t light up the first 3G market until almost two months after the 700MHz auction was closed, despite announcing in October 2006 that they had already deployed the necessary infrastructure in some markets and planned to go live in mid-2007.

          While it might have been possible in theory for DT to sink yet more money into their network, their total investment up to that point must have begun to look horrifically misguided ($55 billion to acquire the various companies making up TM + $4 billion for necessary spectrum + $??? billion deployment costs).

          The timing of the auctions and the lack of urgency on the part of the FCC to hasten the exit of government users from the AWS licenses absolutely served the interests of the dominant duopoly.

        • philyew

          On a separate note, it’s because “corporations are for profit not for consumer welfare” that you need anti-trust legislation and federal regulatory authorities to ensure that consumers are not abused by over-concentrated markets.

        • guest

          My goodness you’re a negative person! And don’t say you’re just being a realist. Just because the parent companies have cash doesn’t mean that Sprint or T-Mobile see any of it lol! They were low on funds from AWS one previously. Not sure about Sprint but they were in financial trouble since the Nextel merger.

    • philyew

      There are around 100 other member companies in the CCA who have been lobbying for this opportunity as well.

      Spectrum under 1GHz has particular properties vitally important to carriers for rural coverage range and urban building penetration. AT&T and Verizon already own 70% of the current spectrum.

      It’s about promoting fairer competition and preventing the market leaders from further deepening a de facto duopoly which frustrates the laws that have existed for a century to prevent markets from being abused by high concentrations of ownership.

      Regardless of how deep might be the pockets of Softbank and DT, any spending which exceeds the ability of Sprint and TM to fund it from their own reserves has to show up as debt, which undermines the market value of the companies. Without these rules, it’s too easy for AT&T and Verizon to manipulate their competition. It’s called foreclosure strategy and the DoJ issued a timely reminder to the FCC earlier in the week of its anti-competitive potential.

  • keasycase

    Idt yall understand that AT&T and verzion have loads of 850 mhz of spectrum that they are bout to use for 4g lte… And 700 mhz… They really don’t need 600 at all

    • shadlom

      Good then. Why are they making a fuss.

      • Julian

        If you have $1000, you would’t want an extra $1000?

        • vrm

          this is exactly the reason trickle down economics does not work.

        • KlausWillSeeYouNow

          So unrelated, my head hurts. No.

    • KingCobra

      They don’t need it necessarily but AT&T doesn’t have much adjacent spectrum holdings so that’s one reason they want some of this. Another is for competitive reasons. Even they don’t need it, buying up a lot of it keeps their competitors from getting it.

  • Monkeyk

    Next stop, the courts!

  • http://twitter.com/tabascotx Mike Roberson

    So if the FCC already has rules against “Spectrum Squatting”, why aren’t they doing anything about ATT and Verizon after the 2009 AWS auction? They bought up tons of spectrum that they haven’t used and more than likely don’t plan on using. The FCC needs to enforce the policy they have in place that is supposed to stop this and take back the unused spectrum and re-auction it, but not allow the one that locked up the spectrum before to bid again. The policy makes sense,it very similar to what the Gov does with oil and land leases. If the company that makes the lease doesn’t build or drill in a certain amount of time,then the Gov takes back control of the lease.

    • Jarobusa

      Verizon is going to use AWS very soon. Look up XLTE.

    • guest

      Because it’s too late for those. They can’t legally force them to sell old spectrum. They will probably have to use those now eventually since they can’t hog everything at the latest auction. Still good news!

      • philyew

        In fact, auctions are conducted with construction schedule rules. They just aren’t very aggressive in some cases. Failure to meet schedules can lead to the license being revoked. If enforced, it’s not a matter of forcing the previous licensee to sell, but simply canceling their license and reselling it.

        For example, the licensees in the lower band 700MHz auction had 5 years to build out 35% of their coverage area. That’s why Verizon sold their holding to TM.

        Here’s what the FCC says on their site:

        “Construction/Coverage Requirements

        Most wireless licensees are required to construct their authorized system or meet specific coverage requirements within a given time period and to notify the Commission that the requirement was met. This construction/coverage time period varies depending on the radio service in which the license is held. For more information on the construction/coverage time period by radio service, see Requirements by Service. For mobile-only systems, the system must be operational within the construction time period and licensees are required to notify the FCC in the same manner as those with construction/coverage requirements.
        If a licensee fails to construct a frequency, fails to construct a location, fails to construct an entire license, or fails to meet a coverage requirement, the frequency, location, or license terminates automatically as of the applicable construction/coverage deadline. See 47 CFR 1.946 for information on Construction and Coverage Requirements.”

        http://wireless.fcc{dot}gov/licensing/index.htm?job=const_req_home

  • kev2684

    YAAAAAAAAAAAAAASSSS!!!

  • Fr0stTr0n

    By bye AT&T, go cry in a corner.

  • GinaDee

    You guys are cheering too quickly. Lots of wiggle room for AT&T and Verizon here. In fact AT&T went from being against this to for this. They plan to benefit from the upcoming auctions. Too many loopholes.

    • vrm

      yeah, they could float dummy shell corporations to grab spectrum and hold on to it, keeping it out of t-mobile’s reach.

      • Jarobusa

        Really? You don’t think the FCC would see owns these dummy corps?

      • guest

        Yeah that’s REALLY legal lol! They’re only going with it because they don’t have a choice now and don’t want to appear like jackasses!

  • Laststop311

    Would love to see t-mobile win a nice 10×10 or (15×15) in some carrier deprived places) block of nationwide 600mhz and with carrier aggregation boost all their markets to 20×20 LTE-A with no throttles or overages.

    I’d even be willing to have different tiers of LTE you pay for. You can pay for 5×5, 10×10, 15×15, or 20×20. They can use some advanced algorithms to properly spread out the traffic and not have all the same 5×5 for all the 5×5 subs. 70/month like it is for 5×5 75 for 10×10 85 for 15×15 and 100 for 20×20 all unlimited no throttle. sign me up for the 20mhz channels for 100 of course with mimo preferably 3t3r

  • Romdude

    Could it be possible that the US consumers are being thought of for a change instead of the normal business comes first politics of both parties? Someone pinch me.