House Republicans side with AT&T and Verizon, calling for unrestricted spectrum auctions

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Image Credit: Popular Mechanics

The biggest spectrum auction of the past 10 years is due to take place in the next year, and as we’re all aware, both Sprint and T-Mobile have called for changes in the way airwaves are being auctioned off. As the current system stands, big chunks of spectrum are sold covering large geographical areas. T-Mo and Old Yeller have joined with other organizations to lobby that the FCC changes the restrictions to sell spectrum in smaller portions, covering smaller areas.

T-Mobile argues that it helps the smaller carriers be more competitive at auction. Stating that the current system makes it too easy for Verizon and AT&T to take the lion’s share of spectrum. Tom Wheeler, chairman of the FCC, has agreed and has motioned for changes to be made that make it hard for carriers/companies with large portions of specific bands to acquire too much more. The FCC’s proposed changes specifically reserve sections of spectrum in each market for wireless carriers who don’t already have large quantities of low-frequency spectrum.  A move which both VZW and the Death Star are unhappy with, and one which would benefit Sprint and T-Mobile greatly.

And they’re seemingly not the only ones. Republicans on the U.S. House of Representatives’ technology panel have asked regulators to cancel their plans to restrict auctions. The news comes ten days prior to the date set for the FCC vote for next year’s major auction.

In a letter dated May 2nd, the House Republicans compare these restrictive measures to those of a cartel, stating that this “… is not how a market-based auction should function; it is how a cartel controls price.” They believe that the free market should decide the fate of the auctions.

We have 10 days until the fate of the major auction is decided, and there’s a lot of lobbying to do between now and then. And that’s not the only potential stumbling block. Television stations still need to voluntarily give up control of their low-frequency airwaves.

Source: Yahoo! Finance

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  • Tmo1082

    I think it’s funny that its OK for the Republicans to draw up their congressional district lines that suits them best when they are the smaller guy so they can get re-elected. Then turn right around and accuse the smaller wireless carriers of being like the cartel when they want a level playing field.

    • Stone Cold

      Both sides do that.

  • Tmo1082

    I think it’s funny that its OK for the Republicans to draw up their congressional district lines that suits them best when they are the smaller guy so they can get re-elected. Then turn right around and accuse the smaller wireless carriers of being like the cartel when they want a level playing field.

  • mingkee

    These house GOP have to be destroyed.

  • dkbnyc

    Ah, those GOPers are at it again. Sticking it to the little guy in favor of the big guy. You want competition then allow the little guys the room to acquire what they need to compete. AT&T & VZW both have more than enough spectrum. A good portion never even in use. For once will you GOP tricksters do the right thing for the people and not the corporations… Wait, I forget. You guys think that corporations are people.

  • dkbnyc

    Ah, those GOPers are at it again. Sticking it to the little guy in favor of the big guy. You want competition then allow the little guys the room to acquire what they need to compete. AT&T & VZW both have more than enough spectrum. A good portion never even in use. For once will you GOP tricksters do the right thing for the people and not the corporations… Wait, I forget. You guys think that corporations are people.

    • GinaDee

      Problem is: Neither Softbank or DT are “little guys.” Both Sprint and T-Mobile USA have foreign owners who own most of each respective company. People cheering for the rise of one company and the demise of a US company forget this.

      DT and Softbank “can afford,” to invest massive amounts of capital into these US spectrum auctions. They don’t want to and would rather the US government make it easy on them and harder on the larger 100% US companies like VZ or AT&T.

      I’ve said it before: T-Mobile US needs to get their hands on more low band spectrum. That doesn’t mean other companies should be put at some form of disadvantage in the process; particularly US based companies like AT&T or VZ who invest more into our US economy than most others.

      I don’t have a problem with a small reserve of spectrum for T-Mobile. I do have an issue with the verbiage in the legislation that forces big companies to have to buy spectrum in small 5 x 5 slices. That’s insane and unnecessary.

      Any company who purchases new airwaves should be forced for a 100 % build out within 18 months and should keep the handsets they sell “unlocked.” This is where consumers would really win.

    • GinaDee

      Problem is: Neither Softbank or DT are “little guys.” Both Sprint and T-Mobile USA have foreign owners who own most of each respective company. People cheering for the rise of one company and the demise of a US company forget this.

      DT and Softbank “can afford,” to invest massive amounts of capital into these US spectrum auctions. They don’t want to and would rather the US government make it easy on them and harder on the larger 100% US companies like VZ or AT&T.

      I’ve said it before: T-Mobile US needs to get their hands on more low band spectrum. That doesn’t mean other companies should be put at some form of disadvantage in the process; particularly US based companies like AT&T or VZ who invest more into our US economy than most others.

      I don’t have a problem with a small reserve of spectrum for T-Mobile. I do have an issue with the verbiage in the legislation that forces big companies to have to buy spectrum in small 5 x 5 slices. That’s insane and unnecessary.

      Any company who purchases new airwaves should be forced for a 100 % build out within 18 months and should keep the handsets they sell “unlocked.” This is where consumers would really win.

  • TylerCameron

    I actually think spectrum should be auctioned off as a giant national blanket…

  • TylerCameron

    I actually think spectrum should be auctioned off as a giant national blanket…

  • Paul Garrison

    Republican hates big government publicly, but loves big business. Go figure, such hypocrisy.

  • T-Sprint

    This is just another signal that T-Mobile will get absorbed by Softbank. If they can’t change the spectrum buying policy they need each other to survive. Spectrum stands for control in the telecom industry.

    • dkbnyc

      Sprint going the way of the Dinos is more likely.

  • T-Sprint

    This is just another signal that T-Mobile will get absorbed by Softbank. If they can’t change the spectrum buying policy they need each other to survive. Spectrum stands for control in the telecom industry.

  • $15454173

    Coming here to read this and then up pops a Sprint ad and a big AT&T ad. The Sprint ad is sitting right over and I am typing “under” it. Okay, reloaded 3 times and its gone. It wasn’t House Republicans that put the ads of the competition in your face :) “Switch to Sprint” anyone?

  • vinnyjr

    House Republicans are the biggest thieves walking the streets of Washington. They have their hands in everyone’s pocket. Sprint is a piss poor slow as hell CDMA Network that is old as hell, T-Mobile is a fast as lightening GSM Network with the fastest HSPA+ Network and the most up to date LTE Hardware in the world being currently installed. They don’t sync at all. Sprint will drag any Network down. T-Mobile must stay the hell away from Sprint at any cost.

    • josephsinger

      Darryl Issa a San Diego politician wanted Iraq to have a CDMA network only because his constituents at Qualcomm were peddling CDMA hardware. Shocked. I tells ya I’m shocked!

    • KlausWillSeeYouNow

      Republicans are not necessarily for a Sprint-T-Mo merger, Vinny. You spread a lot of anti-Republican hate, but have very little factual basis to back anything up.

      House Repubs are NOT the issue. Try looking at the political contributions of Verizon, for example – the CDMA-only culture that you object to is the result of Democratic influence peddling. VZ is a big Dem. contributor. So is Sprint.

  • notyourbusiness

    House Republicans siding with the two major wireless carriers in the US who support them and give money to right wing propaganda? No way!

    Seriously, this is not the least bit shocking. Evil is as evil does and evil sure does stick together.

  • josephsinger

    House Republicans siding with telcos! Shocked I tells ya I’m shocked. Bidne$$ is mo’ important than citizens’ needs silly people. Really now you expected something different?

  • Dusty

    If you let the “free market” control the auctions, you are denying a “free market” when it comes to consumer choice. Sometimes, when you have a limited commodity, if you adhere to market principles and consumerism, you have to deny as free a market as you would like at some point to preserve the free market overall.

  • lynyrd65

    And for the first time ever, I just might vote democrat……. Congratulations you corrupt asshats

    • KlausWillSeeYouNow

      In my view, this is not a major enough of an issue to influence my faith in conservative principles.

  • spritemoney

    I am a Libertarian leaning individual who highly believes in the free market. That being said, it is ironic how the house republicans calls the smaller carriers “cartels,” when ironically, the bigger carriers are acting as cartels themselves. Infact Verizon and AT&T are both descents of a MONOPOLY (that was allowed by our government) and thus they have the deepest pockets. WE DO NOT have a true free market when it comes to telecommunications in the United States. Our government (it DOES NOT matter what side you’re on, repub or dem) does not believe in a true free market, and they always side with money. They do what benefits THEMSELVES and the corporations. It’s so ironic how republicans consider themselves “free market” and they are apparently for “economic freedom” and less government in our lives when infact they are JUST AS WORSE as the democrats. I do believe the government should interfere and allow the underdogs to get more spectrum.

    My advice for everybody: Vote for the individual, not for the party. Both sides DO NOT care about your common American. Vote them all out.

    • KlausWillSeeYouNow

      Based on what you’ve just said, you are NOT a Libertarian-leaning individual. You would laud any decision that leaves the market completely untouched. Libertarians, for the record, object to government intervention in free markets even more than Republicans do.

      • spritemoney

        Again, the telecommunication industry is so unique. What we have in the U.S. regarding the telecommunication industry is the opposite of a free market.

      • spritemoney

        There are countries out there (I’m NOT looking at Europe) which have such a free market when it comes to the telecommunication industry. I’m not sure if you have traveled the world (I have!) and let me use Malaysia as an example. In Malaysia, you should see what the free market has produced in the terms of the telecommunication industry. They have a broad range of players, and effective competition, as a result the price has dropped and service has became better. In the United States we have an oligopoly when it comes to telecommunications services.

  • j

    its amazing to me how these politicians openly show that they are being influenced by business and people keep voting them in. the funny part is that their are a large number of “red blooded merican” republicans who rely on those “terrible socialist programs” to eat, but then vote in fat cats thinking they are patriotic. sad

  • Fr0stTr0n

    No different then all you liberals blaming Bush for everything.

  • sorandkairi

    Okay.. so what did Bush do well exactly!?

  • KlausWillSeeYouNow

    If you were “well-read,” your complaint about me that you mentioned earlier, you would have known that by 2006, only one industrialized economy simultaneously grew its GDP while reducing its absolute level of greenhouse gas emissions: the United States, and its entirely due to the Bush Administration.

    After rejecting the Kyoto Protocol, President Bush appropriated $22 billion to “climate change technology, research, and deployment,” which is actually more than any president in history (yes, including Obama) and more than the rest of the world combined.

    Bam.