We’ve heard from Verizon, AT&T and even a government body on the plans to restrict the upcoming major spectrum auction. Needless to say, none of them were supportive of the idea that the FCC wants to restrict the amount of spectrum available to carriers which already own a good portion. Under the new plans, a percentage of available airwaves would be reserved for carriers who don’t own a lot already, hopefully giving T-Mobile and Sprint a fair crack at acquiring low-band spectrum they both need.
In a filing to the FCC, T-Mobile argues that it’s not just good for the smaller carriers, but also good for the spirit of healthy competition too. It stops the duopoly of Verizon and AT&T from using their superior buying power to just split everything down the middle, leaving nothing for anyone else (reported by FierceWireless):
“When demand exceeds supply, prices increase,” T-Mobile wrote. “Preserving–and indeed expanding–the occasions when Verizon and AT&T must bid against one another for broadband spectrum, rather than contorting the rules to allow the two dominant carriers to divide the available resources evenly between them, may represent the single most meaningful thing the Commission can do to improve auction revenue, increase payments to broadcasters, and expand the amount of spectrum available for new wireless broadband services.”
If the changes go through, T-Mobile also states that it would help the carrier become an even stronger disruption in the market, helping it to continue on the path it’s forged for the past couple of years.
“access to low-band spectrum and the economies of scale that greater access would enable represent two of the most pressing needs T-Mobile must satisfy if the company is to continue to play as disruptive a role in the market for the benefit of consumers as it has played over the last two years.”
T-Mo’s filing also addresses AT&T’s argument that it needs 10+10 MHz blocks of spectrum. It argues that Big Blue could achieve the same peak data speeds by combining two 5+5 blocks through carrier aggregation. Something T-Mobile knows all too well.
We’re now just 8 days away from the vote which will decide whether or not the FCC’s changes will go through. Changes which Verizon feels are “perverse” and AT&T once threatened would leave it with no choice but to boycott the auction (a threat it quickly backtracked on), but changes which Sprint, T-Mobile and every other smaller carrier would welcome with open arms.
Expect more lobbying and complaints before the end of next week.