Tom Wheeler pushes against T-Mobile request for 40MHz reserve in 600MHz auction

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News this morning from the Commission states that Tom Wheeler, the FCC’s chairman, is pushing against T-Mo’s request to raise the spectrum reserve in next year’s low-band auction. In a blog post today, Wheeler stated the following:

“While some parties have petitioned the Commission to increase the size of the reserve, the draft Order on Reconsideration I am circulating today would maintain the reserve size at the current level. The draft Order concludes that the current reserve size of 30 megahertz balances the desire to make low-band spectrum available to parties with limited holdings while facilitating competitive bidding for all auction participants.

The rules adopted last year permit national carriers to bid for reserve spectrum in markets in which they have limited low-band spectrum and do not restrict any reserve-eligible bidder from bidding on unreserved licenses. There will be significant spectrum made available in all markets of the country to all bidders. As a result, consumers will benefit directly from competition in all parts of the country.”

In short, the FCC has to try and balance out the auction so that it is good for both the big and small carriers. There’s no good swinging the auction in favor of the small guys to the detriment of healthy competition between the likes of AT&T and Verizon. It’s not news T-Mobile wants to hear – and I’m sure John Legere will have a word or two more to say about this – but I can see the argument. It does make some sense, as uncomfortable as it is to read.

After successful petitioning last year, T-Mobile convinced the Commission to ensure that there was at least some of the available spectrum kept aside for smaller carriers. With the rules put in place, 30MHz blocks of spectrum in each market are reserved for companies/carriers who don’t currently own a lot of low-band.

Since that decision was made, T-Mo has been pushing hard to raise the reserve from 30MHz to 40MHz or half of the spectrum. This morning’s recommendation would – if accepted by the other Commission members – see that request rejected. It’s a bit of a blow for T-Mobile. But the very fact there’s a 30MHz reserve already in place is still a major improvement on the original terms planned for the auction, which would have left it as a free-for-all. In other words – Verizon and AT&T would more than likely have scooped up almost all the spectrum on offer. So let’s just be glad there’s a reserve at all.

Source: FCC
Via: Fierce Wireless

Tags: , , , , ,

  • archerian

    The FCC blog post was from yesterday, June 25, 2015. Tom Wheeler will be the deciding vote, in all likelihood this will stand. After all the 30Mhz itself was a compromise between the commissioners.

    • kgraham182

      Yeah, it strange how the editor of this site is half a world away. That’s why this site has late news. Would they still be pro TMO if they lived in the states. No ones phone should default to wifi-calling, we are paying for cellular coverage not skype.

      • Brad Wilson

        I thought this post on TmoNews was a very balanced analysis of the situation. I also enjoy the gathering of T Mobile news in one place. As far as I have seen, it’s the only site that does that.

        • Visvism

          There are a few other T-Mobile sites but they aren’t updated as frequently and sometimes don’t provide as relevant information.

        • Cam Bunton

          Thanks Brad! :-)

        • Fabian Cortez

          You’ll be missed.

      • RLB63

        My phone didn’t default. However of your doesn’t then you can switch it up. However it you want to keep costs down for tmo them using Wi-Fi isn’t a bad idea. If their costs go up our costs go up.

      • Android_God

        Do you live in Hawaii?

      • Walter Lonsdale

        It doesn’t “default” to wifi. Wifi simply gives more options if the signal is weak. I have the same issues with Verizon’s signal in my home.

  • The competitive bidding means more dough to the federal government. The enemy is the state and Wheeler, its minion, vying for another lobbying position in 2017 with Dumb and Dumber in his long career as a lobbyist.

  • Visvism

    That would be great if it were a set 30MHz but its actually “up to 30MHz” which is what the FCC and Tom Wheeler don’t really like to point out. In areas where they don’t have that much to offer it drops down to a paltry 10MHz of spectrum that is being reserved. The FCC needs to do better than keeping the status quo for Verizon and AT&T if they really want to promote competition and this dream of four powerful carriers. As it seems right now they’re just fine with a duopoly and don’t want any additional mergers… something has to give.

    • Obviously competition is the least concern of the FCC, eclipsed by the revenue from auctions and the prospects of employment to regulators with the regulated. The proverbial rotating door between corporations and the state, AKA Fascism.

    • archerian

      regardless of reservation or not, the final price T-mobile or anyone else pays doesn’t depend only on auction competition but the final reverse price obtained by the FCC from the TV stations. That happens before the regular auction, and from the opening bids it looks like it’s going to get really expensive. I can’t see the normal auction being cheaper than the reverse auction rates as the FCC will have to hand over that rate to the broadcasters, and the opening rates for urban markets are in the 9 digit figures. Unless ATT and VZW participate, the trigger prices might not be met.

  • kgraham182

    This 600Mhz would be used by TMO for rural areas? If this doesn’t go their way, maybe they should buy service from regional rural companies and focus on the unlicensed 5Ghz they talked about. 5Ghz would help where most of there customers are, in the cities.

    • Visvism

      5GHz would be extremely hard to deploy in a meaningful manner to cover rural America as you would need a cell network more dense than any carrier offers today.

      • kgraham182

        Agree. Just focus on cities, and buy rural service from regional carriers. If they lose the bid. They already far behind in the boondock compare to the big 2

      • 5Ghz will also barely penetrate an apartment wall, which is a massive problem in the city.

      • Zach Chadwick

        I mean, Japan has about 12x as many cellular towers than all of America…. So, isn’t it about time we create a more dense, and powerful network?

    • archerian

      The 30Mhz reservation isn’t really about T-mobile deploying in rural America. It’s
      about protecting itself from competitive bidding in the most urban
      markets in the country.

      • Fabian Cortez

        The 30Mhz reservation isn’t really about T-mobile deploying in rural America. It’s
        about protecting itself from competitive bidding in the most urban
        markets in the country.

        Do you have any evidence to support this claim?

        • archerian

          Cash – based on numbers from the AWS-3 auction, T-mobile will need a boatload of cash to purchase a reasonable swath of spectrum nationwide which it cannot raise currently, perhaps in the range of $15B-$20B or even higher, so it will have to be strategic about its bidding. It’s customer base being predominantly urban it will go for those areas preferentially, especially since it already has protection in those areas. The reverse bidding price set by the FCC in urban markets show huge valuations and to shore up its urban centers, T-mobile will have to spend disproportionately heavier in those markets, leaving less for rural areas. Reservation helps as in those areas ATT and VZW are excluded in almost all of the top 50 POPs except a handful, but the base price has to be met and that itself is $1.25 Mhz-POP, quite possibly reaching $2 or above as this is more valuable than AWS-3. So the net effect is protection from ATT and VZW in urban areas but having to pay more as its more expensive urban POPs but with the same stockpile of cash.

          Competition – in a lot of rural areas ATT is not limited and there are several geographically huge markets that ATT can bid for unrestricted, as it falls under the threshold. There is no way T-mobile can outbid ATT in an unrestricted playing field as is the case in several rural locations, and so ATT will likely trounce T-mobile and T-mobile knows it. Hence they will revert to spending more where they already have a huge customer base and where they are protected. ATT has already declared it will pick up 20-40Mhz in all markets as possible, so it will be ready to get those rural licenses. It came ready with around $20B for AWS-3, it will have more ready for 600Mhz

          In short, the 30Mhz reservation restricts one or both of the Big 2 in the top urban markets, but not in several rural areas. So any carrier that seeks to maximize its gains with the help of such reservations stands to gain most in urban areas.

        • Fabian Cortez

          That’s not evidence. That’s your opinion.

        • archerian

          ok, let’s wait and see T-mobile raise $20B for a nationwide 10+10 band wherever available. Hopefully we’ll still be Disqus buddies then and can compare notes :)

        • Fabian Cortez

          ok, let’s wait and see T-mobile raise $20B for a nationwide 10+10 band wherever available. Hopefully we’ll still be Disqus buddies then and can compare notes :)

          That’s nothing more than speculative theory on your part.

          Your $20 billion estimate is over the top and unsubstantiated.

          If you knew what you were talking about, you’d know that AT&T has committed $9 billion to this auction alone.

          Try prefacing your opinions with “I think” instead for clarification.

        • archerian

          If you knew what you were talking about, you’d know that AT&T has committed $9 billion to this auction alone.

          AT LEAST $9B. The relevant quote from RCR being “AT&T said it remains committed to spending at least $9 billion in the government’s planned 600 MHz incentive auction”. They lined credit of $11B for AWS-3 and ended up paying around $18B, and this now is low-band. Based on AWS-3 receipts, most analysts estimate $60B-$80B worth of receipts for the 600Mhz auction, so a $15-$20B valuation for 10+10 doesn’t seem unsubstantiated especially when it covers the top POPs.

          But back to my initial point – even if it’s $5-10B that T-mobile manages to raise and bring for the auction, it will have to spend it on the protected urban markets before foraging to rural areas and risk getting slaughtered by ATT. Because that is the best course of action enabled by the reservation.

        • Fabian Cortez

          Still, you have zero evidence to back up your opinion.

        • archerian

          And that’s YOUR opinion. Let the events play out. T-Mobile cannot raise enough capital for 10+10 600 MHz in all markets, and will make targeted bids, as shown by their previous auction strategy.

        • Fabian Cortez

          No, that’s not my opinion. That’s a fact.

          So unless you have facts to support your statement, it is nothing more than your opinion. To which you should probably preface with “in my opinion” moving forward. If you want to be taken seriously, of course.

        • archerian

          Let me dumb it down for you then…

          A few initial points: All carriers can spend as much money as they choose to, they can choose not to participate at all or in certain markets, bid in all markets and remove their auction bids mid-auction. ATT and VZW too can bid in all markets, but may face restrictions in what amount of spectrum they can bid for.

          1. ATT & VZW have more auction spending capability in terms of cash than T-mobile. Given a free for all auction, ATT and VZW would mop the floor for spectrum, and Dish might join in too. Evidence: That’s why there is the whole 30 Mhz reservation for “competitive carriers” and T-mobile is one of them, ATT and VZW have more lines of credit and debt raising capabilities. And what happened in AWS-3. And all of JL’s parodies.

          2. T-mobile and other competitive carriers appealed to the FCC for reservation rules and obtained them. Evidence: FCC rulings with maximum of 30Mhz reserved.

          3. Reservations from (2) above restrict both ATT and VZW from bidding in several markets – almost all of the top 50 (except maybe 5 or so) markets, predominantly urban areas due to population density . Evidence: Analysis from carriers themselves, general reports on FW.

          4. Reservations from (2) above do not however restrict ATT from bidding in both reserved and non-reserved blocks in several large rural markets. These markets form a large part of the rural country. Evidence: ATT The 30Mhz reservation isn’t really about T-mobile deploying in rural America. It’s about protecting itself from competitive bidding in the most urban markets in the country.

          Now you can claim whatever you want with what I just said, I don’t really care if you claim this isn’t enough to be take seriously or whatever, after all not everyone will appreciate it. And no, I don’t clamor for your approval of what I write or whether it meets your standards to be taken seriously. If you feel it doesn’t, why reply every time, why not just ignore what I write? :) Believe me, I have read several of your ‘opinion’ pieces to know what levels of ‘seriousness’ you go to.

          Additionally, you do not have to tell me how to preface my comments. I’ll write comments as I see fit, you are free to do the same. Like I keep mentioning, there is no obligation on you from anyone’s part to reply to me, least of all me.

        • PMB01

          Oh good, so we can continue disregarding your opinions full of little fact and all conjecture.

        • archerian

          If you want to disregard it, why reply?

        • PMB01

          So that others will know to do the same. Are you really that dense?

        • archerian

          amazing, so you decided to disregard by comments by replying to it to somehow let others know to disregard it too … The farce is strong in this one.

        • PMB01

          I know; you should stop lying to people.

        • archerian

          Instead of a simple one liner stating I’m “lying” why don’t you actually point out my so called lie, and prove its untrue? I’m perfectly willing to hear your version of what I lie about, if you can provide evidence of the inaccuracy.

        • PMB01

          Ain’t nobody got time for that. I’d be here all day with all the vomit you’ve produced. Besides, I highly doubt you’d listen. You’ll just deny any evidence, like every ignorant commenter does.

        • Fabian Cortez

          Again, all of that is nice but you still have zero evidence proving that the reserve is “about protecting itself from competitive bidding in the most urban
          markets in the country,” per your claim.

          So until you have hard evidence, this nothing more than your speculative opinion, which is usually never right.

          We’re still waiting on a link, however.

    • SirStephenH

      They’d be going for a national license or as close to it as they can get. 5Ghz doesn’t help with the penetration problem and there’s no reason why they can’t do both anyways.

      • archerian

        please explain how T-mobile will raise the $15B+ needed for the national license? As shown by their calculated bidding and reversals in the AWS-3 auction, most likely they will be making targeted bids.

        • Fabian Cortez

          please explain how T-mobile will raise the $15B+ needed for the national license? As shown by their calculated bidding and reversals in the AWS-3 auction, most likely they will be making targeted bids.

          Apples to oranges. Please, again, understand the difference between low and mid band frequency. Everyone else seems to.

          T-Mobile has plenty of mid band spectrum. And unlicensed spectrum is out there to supplement that. 37 20 MHz carriers at that.

          So to base your opinion upon the most recent mid band spectrum auction results and apply that to the last upcoming low band spectrum audition for some time is rather shortsighted and uneducated.

          T-Mobile competed just fine for their nationwide AWS-1 and still has money left over from what they brought to the table for AWS-3. You also conveniently forget about DT and what they could potentially bring to the table, considering their current investment portfolio in T-Mobile. A nationwide slice of 600 MHz makes T-Mobile only look better for the sale, not worse.

          You also continue to demonstrate zero evidence about this “$15B+” figure that’s required.

          Please make the distinction between facts and your shortsighted opinions.

        • kamikaze

          Please, again, understand the difference between low and mid band frequency.

          I’m not sure how you are under the impression I don’t understand the difference between spectrum. Under discussion is not what the advantages or properties of low band vs mid band is, but pricing. All entities, including the FCC, analysts, even carriers themselves base the cost of future auctions based on market conditions, how much is available and the previous auctions. Check the FCC release on how they set the base price for 600 Mhz bids – it was based in part on the last auction demand and how much each market went for.

          T-Mobile has plenty of mid band spectrum. And unlicensed spectrum is out there to supplement that. 37 20 MHz carriers at that.

          ok? how is that relevant to what we are discussing, which is the valuation of the 600 Mhz spectrum in the upcoming auction.

          So to base your opinion upon the most recent mid band spectrum auction results and apply that to the last upcoming low band spectrum audition for some time is rather shortsighted and uneducated.

          Well, then I join the list of the FCC, carrier analysts and most if not all stock, credit and bank analysts who base the pricing and demand for the upcoming auction in part on what transpired with AWS-3. 600 Mhz is even more valuable than AWS-3, no lowband will be auctioned off in the near future, so even with reservations, the auction bids for the upcoming auction will meet or exceed the AWS-3 one. The base price in MHz-POP set by the FCC reflects that.

          T-Mobile competed just fine for their nationwide AWS-1

          This is incorrect, it was due to lack of competitors. No one was really interested in AWS which had little device support at that time. If it did so OK with AWS-3 why did JL say AWS-3 was a disaster? Why does he say if the same happened in the next auction everyone is doomed? If T-mobile had around $4B in initial bidding rounds and later withdrew it when Dish upped the bids, and eventually lost most markets to Dish – is that doing just fine? The money left over was the money they withdrew in later rounds of the auction when the price went too high, not what was left over. It was money that couldn’t be used to gain any spectrum against Dish and was consequently left over. Source: FCC final net payment list, see the refunds column for T-mobile.

          You also conveniently forget about DT and what they could potentially bring to the table, considering their current investment portfolio in T-Mobile.

          Wow, this is the kicker!! Can you offer any evidence that DT has committed to any help for the auction? On the contrary, DT has made it clear (and so has T-mobile’s CFO) that they will most likely NOT be providing any assistance. Link – http://www.fiercewireless.com/story/analysts-deutsche-telekom-wont-support-t-mobile-financially-600-mhz-incenti/2015-03-31

          You also continue to demonstrate zero evidence about this “$15B+” figure that’s required.

          If you compare the base rate per Mhz-POP set by the FCC for AWS_3 and the final going rate vs what has been set for 600 Mhz and factor in the fact that the major metros have 9 figure reverse auction starting bids, this figure is more or less how much would be needed. Assuming 600 Mhz is more valuable than AWS-3 and 65 Mhz raised $44 billion, a potential 600 Mhz sale would net in the $60-$80B mark. Link -> http://rbr.com/kagan-sees-high-value-incentive-auction/ So to get 10+10 nationwide, including the very expensive metros it will be around the $15B mark, with reservation.

  • Stone Cold

    I can see both sides but this really help Big Red and Death Star and hurts the smaller carriers will see how it all shakes out

  • Not relating to this news. Can you take out the script that auto scroll the webpage please. It’s annoying as hell when you’re trying to read. I don’t have all the adblock, noscript, etc… running out of respect that you probably need the ad revenue. But auto scrolling is just plain annoying.

    • Ascertion

      Try ublock origin. It blocks the ads, but still pings the servers so the site owners get revenue.

      • SirStephenH

        Ad blockers work on PC but there’s not really an option for mobile…

        • Zach Chadwick

          Mobile Safari in iOS 9, will allow Ad Blockers, along with other Content Blockers.

        • SirStephenH

          I’ve had more than enough experience with iOS and I wouldn’t even touch it with someone else’s 10 foot pole.

  • tomarone

    Half the spectrum does not seem much to ask for but it sounds like the big 2 need to think they get more than half. How much is the reserve then, without the increase? (in percent terms)

    • SirStephenH

      Current rules:
      30Mhz reserve = 40%
      Big 2 can bid on 50Mhz (60%)

      T-Mobile suggested rules:
      40Mhz reserve = 50%
      Big 2 can bid on 40Mhz (50%)

      • Moby

        Those are the current rules. You’re assuming that 80Mhz will be available in each market. It could be much lower than that. The lower it is, the less that will be protected from AT&T and Verizon. You need to get your facts straight.

  • Android_God

    Grabbing my popcorn, no doubt the comment section is going to get good today!

  • Paul Garrison

    Then they should have just let Softback buy T-Mobile and create a Mobile Cartel with At&t and Verizon.

  • dtam

    try another angle. for the free-for-all auction, they should give bigger discounts to the Designated Entity’s. I think the number is around 25% currently. If they increase that to 40-50%, the smaller guys can be competitive at bidding, and it also drives up the prices for verizon/att. With that in mind, they should also limit DE’s to carriers that actually have a cellular network (ie, no dish or prospectors)

    • archerian

      interesting proposition … the discount is applied after the winner is ratified, so even a 50% discount might not be enough to hold off VZW or ATT as when T-mobile came with as much as $3B and spent around half of it, ATT brought $18B and VZW around $10B

  • pda96

    The FCC will do whatever it takes to generate the most revenue for itself.

    • archerian

      this is a reverse auction first, and then a regular one. The broadcasters will do whatever it takes to generate the most revenue for themselves, the FCC will have to pass it on.

  • JakeSan

    All these Commissioners and Politicians are so naive. They wanted a healthy competition between all Carriers but didn’t want to make temporary adjustment so that the playing field could be balanced. Why did both Verizon and AT&T became the largest carriers in the country? It’s because they were handed low spectrum frequencies for free. If our lawmakers thinks that they’re creating healthy competition, then how come our government won’t switch their service to Sprint or T-Mobile? I don’t think it’s because their prices are lower than Verizon or AT&T. I’m sure the reason why they wouldn’t switch is because of the quality of Service they would get if they were to switch to Sprint or T-Mobile.

    • archerian

      One reason “the government” doesn’t change to T-mobile is because typical government offices are large buildings, and you cannot get reliable coverage inside large buildings with T-mobile. The IT department will get killed if users’ calls drop each time they enter an elevator or walk into a building. The same reason why few traveling salesmen who need reliable phone connectivity uses T-mobile – you don’t want to save $20 off your phone bill and lose several times that with a lost call or downtime. However many other people are perfectly ok with that, and the lower prices and certain fantastic features T-mobile offers.

      • PMB01

        I have no issues with T-Mobile signal penetrating buildings. Your analysis is wrong (but not just based on my experience, it just is).

        • archerian

          It just is? Care to elaborate? Do you claim T-Mobile is just as good as VZW or ATT in indoor coverage in most areas today?

        • PMB01

          Most areas, yes.

        • SirStephenH

          Agreed, even in areas where T-Mobile lacks B12.

        • archerian

          Lol, I understand your need to keep drinking the T-Mobile koolaid, but if you believe T-Mobile has indoor coverage in most areas across the nation that matches VZW and ATT that shows the extremes you will go to swallow it. Check any independent testing report say RootMetrics indoor coverage and see the actual difference.

      • morbid

        Places I’ve worked tend to have big buildings with lots of structure, as well as underground buildings and sub-levels. They had Verizon repeaters throughout, as all the corporate phones were Verizon… which was frustrating to those with personal phones not on Verizon.

      • JakeSan

        Then your statement agrees with what T-Mobile is fighting for. The only reason why T-Mobile couldn’t penetrate those large government buildings and elevators is because of the lack of low-band spectrums. If the government would allow all big 4 to acquire an equal amount of low-band spectrum for the sake of healthy competition, I can guarantee you that our Government would save a lot of our hard earned tax dollars for their Wireless bills.

    • The FCC just pays lip service to competitiveness. Their goal is maximizing auction revenues, period. Anything besides that is smoke screen.

  • Uri

    600MHz is for penetration what about 40MHz what is that for?

    • Cam Bunton

      600MHz refers to the frequency, 40MHz refers to the size of the spectrum block. As an example, T-Mobile’s Wideband LTE network runs on the 1700/2100MHz frequency but in 15+15 (30MHz) or 20+20 (40MHz) blocks.

      • Sushimane

        So basically tmobile wants 40 so they can get 20+20 spectrum block. Better coverage and signal strength?

        • Adam

          The 40Mhz is the channel width. It determines the download/upload speed. Currently, each 10Mhz represents 75 Mbps maximum (meaning right next to the tower with no one else connecting). 40Mhz allows for 20Mhz for download or 150 Mbps (20/10 = 2, 75*2) and another 20 Mhz for upload. It is also likely that T-Mobile will not get the whole 30 Mhz either. I see some test labs reporting 300 Mbps per 10Mhz channel, so I expect these numbers to quadruple in the next few years.

        • Sushimane

          Oh ok thanks

        • Stefan Naumowicz

          T-Mobile wants 40 to be reserved for smaller carriers so that they can HOPEFULLY end up with at least 20 mhz of that spectrum to end up with enough to create a nationwide 10+10 block. The reality is they will be lucky to end up with a nationwide 5+5 block

        • archerian

          Even with 40Mhz reserved, I doubt T-mobile would have the cash reserves to get a nationwide 10+10, especially since the urban POPs will be very expensive even with protection from ATT and VZW due to the higher reverse auction price from the broadcasters. The FCC prevents collusion among wireless carriers, but not sure about broadcasters.

        • SirStephenH

          There’s a total of 80Mhz of 600Mhz spectrum that’s going to be offered in the next auction. Current rules reserve 30Mhz of the 80Mhz for smaller carriers only (T-Mobile, Sprint, U.S. Cellular, etc; in other words anyone not Verizon or AT&T). This would allow Verizon and AT&T to bid on and most likely win up to 50Mhz (60%) of the available spectrum, leaving everyone else fighting over the remaining 30Mhz. Part of the issue here is that Verizon and AT&T already own 73% of the available lowband spectrum (spectrum under 1Ghz) and doing this would only go to increase their lowband duopoly. T-Mobile wants the rules changed to a more reasonable (I’d say too reasonable) 40Mhz reserve which would only allow Verizon and AT&T to bid on half (40Mhz) of the available 600Mhz spectrum. We’d still most likely see dumb and dumber walk away with half the spectrum.

          T-Mobile doesn’t expect to walk away with 40Mhz if it’s rules were approved because it still has to bid against Sprint, U.S. Cellular, DISH, and possibly other smaller carriers. At best it’ll probably get 20Mhz for a 10+10 and at worst it’ll get 10Mhz for a 5+5. It just wants to increase it’s odds and keep prices down.

        • archerian

          leaving everyone else fighting over the remaining
          30Mhz

          just to be clear, anyone can bid on the non-reserved portion so for the “competitive carriers” their potential bidding market is 100% of what’s available.

          It all depends on how much the TV broadcasters are ready to relinquish and at what price. If the price in the reverse auction doesn’t drop enough, even having reservations won’t help T-mobile as the “discount” price itself might be too high.

        • SirStephenH

          Just to be clear I never said they weren’t able to bid on all of it. I said Verizon and AT&T would most likely win the non-reserve which leaves the remaining 30Mhz for T-Mobile, Sprint, U.S. Cellular, etc to fight over.

          You didn’t even really try there. Your heart just doesn’t seem to be into trolling today.

        • archerian

          Your initial statement assumed a total of 80Mhz is available for the auction, that is incorrect. The actual amount depends on what is relinquished as I mentioned in my earlier comment which you claimed was trolling when it is a fact.

          You cannot also assume ATT or VZW will win the non-reserve in all areas, depending on need and cost/benefit analysis they will make only certain bids in each market which may well be below the non-reserve. This has been shown in their recent bidding patterns in the AWS-3 auction where there were no external restrictions.

        • Fabian Cortez

          Not does he have the facts.

        • archerian

          Point out the inaccuracy in my previous comment then instead of a one liner stating it is devoid of facts.

        • Moby

          “There’s a total of 80Mhz of 600Mhz spectrum that’s going to be offered in the next auction.”

          This is a false statement. The amount available in each market will depend on how many TV stations sell their spectrum. If few stations sell, a lot less than 80MHz will be available. Why don’t you study the subject before you make such false statements.

    • Stefan Naumowicz

      40 MHz refers to the size of the channel, 600 MHz refers to the frequency range that channel is located in. Example would be a channel that operates on 610-650mhz (40mhz channel width in the 600mhz range)

  • Raiterio Patterson

    So the reason John Legere was pushing for 40MHz of 600MHz spectrum was because he wanted some backup spectrum or because he wanted speed AND coverage with the spectrum?

    • SirStephenH

      This is set to be the last great lowband (spectrum under 1Ghz) auction for the foreseeable future. AT&T and Verizon together already own 73% of the available lowband and with these rules are set to own 50-60% of the 600Mhz spectrum made available in this auction.

      Verizon and AT&T are already competitive amongst each other and don’t need help from this auction to be more so. This isn’t just about T-Mobile, this is about the wireless industry as a whole. The FCC has made it clear that they want healthy competition from a strong third and forth national carrier yet they keep handing spectrum to the top two carriers who need it the least.

      Don’t get me wrong, a major reason behind T-Mobile pushing for this is for it’s own best interest. They are on the right side of this issue though.

      • archerian

        There is no right or wrong side to this issue, it’s a bunch of mega billion dollar corporations trying to minimize costs, expand and protect market share. In the end it’s all about making more money, nothing altruistic about it that it’s right or wrong or fair or unfair.

        JL tries to make this into some kind of social issue when in fact its just money changing hands, no lives will become better or kumbaya or Gotham burning

        • Raiterio Patterson

          John Legere just gave away free phones on Twitter if you used the hashtag; #phoneshame, so it can’t all be about money

        • archerian

          A couple of thousand dollars worth of phones to promote an agenda that could potentially save T-Mobile billions in auction dollars.

        • gmo8492

          It had nothing to do with the spectrum auction, it was to promote uncarrier amp. Unless people make the distinction that the two are somehow connected.

      • Raiterio Patterson

        This 600MHz auction coming next year is the last one for low band spectrum? That’s no 500MHz?

        • SirStephenH

          It’s predicted that IF there is another lowband auction it won’t be for AT LEAST another 15-20 years.

          Lowband is used for TV, radio, government, etc and would have to be freed up at the expense of those other services before it could be auctioned off for cellular. 600Mhz and 700Mhz were/are being freed up by shutting down or moving free over the air TV stations.

        • Raiterio Patterson

          Where can you find out if/when WFMY-TV Greensboro, NC is gonna be moved besides spectrum getaway.com?

    • archerian

      It boils down to money. 30Mhz is already reserved, he wants another 10Mhz added to it.

      Why? The real reason is he wants lesser competition in the reserved blocks and this can happen if there is more to be auctioned off. T-mobile was trounced by Dish in the last auction, they are also qualified as a “competitve carrier” along with Sprint and the others and thus able to bid on the reserved blocks. Too much competition even in the reserved blocks means more cost to T-mobile and less chances of winning more spectrum.

  • SirStephenH

    I’d say John’s being nice asking for a 40Mhz reserve. I don’t see any reason why AT&T and Verizon would need more than a 5+5 each with all the lowband they already own. I say set the reserve at 60Mhz.

    • archerian

      Quite surprisingly, the Big 2 do not own a ton of low-band spectrum in all markets, especially rural areas. In huge tracts of the country, ATT will be able to bid as a “protected” carrier.

      And who will come up with the money to pay the broadcasters if the prices go low due to reservation? The auction is contingent on there being enough of them around to make the transfer, and they are already grumbling about low starting bids in the reverse auction. ATT and VZW have to come and spend a lot of money and make the auction a fiscal success, and they won’t do it unless they stand to gain their pound of meat.

  • JaswinderSinghJammu

    What is the amount of total spectrum that’s available. I understand that they are setting aside 30 MHz for small carriers.

    • J.J.

      Well they said 40 was about half so I assume 80mhz total

      • archerian

        they misspoke – anyone who claims today that 80Mhz is what the 600 Mhz incentive auction in 2016 is offering for wireless carriers is perpetuating falsehood, for whatever gains they seek. Because the actual amount is not known today.

        Put simply, the auction is 2 stage. Stage 1, the FCC takes bids from broadcasters to a decreasing auction where they are incentivized via money to “give back” spectrum. Depending on participation and prices, that is one variable that determines how much is available for wireless carriers to bid on in Stage 2. Stage 1 hasn’t happened yet, the FCC is still selling the incentive auction to the broadcasters some of who remain unconvinced. So when this is the current scenario, how can someone calculate what’s available for Stage 2 of the auction? Only upper and lower limits of what can possibly be available can be estimated, and 80Mhz is neither.

        The 80Mhz myth is most probably perpetuated so that unaware people can “buy into” the argument for 40Mhz or half being reserved for carriers not called ATT or VZW. Since a lot of the push is happening via social media, the 50% math seems to be suitable for mass consumption – 50% for the big guys and 50% for the smaller guys.

    • archerian

      it depends on what the first round of reverse bidding with the broadcasters nets the FCC. Up to 144 MHz of could be re-purposed from terrestrial broadcasting to mobile broadband, and a minimum of 42 Mhz. There is a miniscule chance for a scenario where nothing is freed, but chances are extremely extremely unlikely for that to happen.

    • SirStephenH

      80Mhz.

      • kamikaze

        Where did you get those crystal balls that predict the outcome of Stage 1 of the 600mhz auction to be sure it’s 80mhz? There are several scenarios in that auction that are entirely plausible leading to a number different from 80. And that happens only next year.

        Oh I get it, your T-Mobile handlers asked you to tout 80 MHz as then all their petitions to the FCC for 40mhz reservation would make some sort of 50% sense, half for the big 2, half for the competitive carriers.

        Understand that 30 MHz is dependent on how much spectrum is freed via the reverse auction and several other factors that cannot be decided now, and it applies per market.

  • tomarone

    I guess they need to compromise at 45/55.

    • archerian

      unfortunately a hard ratio cannot be set as the actual availability isn’t calculable after stage 1 of the auction.

      • I agree. In order to further competition, ATT and VZW should be allowed just 5 or 10 MHz each in a given market while the rest is left to others, conditioned on the direction bring lit up in a year to avoid squatters. Of course, auction revenues would be smaller, but the FCC is from the people, by the people, for the people, not out for itself, is it?

  • mavricxx

    I don’t see why they don’t just make the spectrum for ALL the carriers throughout the same for all to share. This way you’re not fighting about who has the better service. It’ll be all about price, customer service and devices/deals. This would benefit all and the all BS would be set aside.

  • Matt

    I’m happy about this in light of the fact that T-Mobile just announced that users would get throttled above 21GB of usage. That isn’t unlimited. T-Mobile should be punished for this.

    • PMB01

      No they shouldn’t. It’s still unlimited. Bad Verizon shill!

      • Matt

        I’m actually a metopcs customer. Don’t quit your day job, Sherlock.

        • PMB01

          Doesn’t make you any less wrong, moron.

  • Moby

    It will be nice when Cam is done posting misleading stories like this on this website. When Cam makes misleading statements like “With the rules put in place, 30MHz blocks of spectrum in each market are reserved for companies/carriers who don’t currently own a lot of low-band, ” it is clear that he doesn’t understand the rules that were revised in May of 2014. So I will quote a source that does:

    “The FCC can reserve of up to 30 MHz of spectrum if broadcasters give up
    at least 70 MHz of spectrum. However, in a compromise that could aid
    Verizon and AT&T, in situations where broadcasters have given up
    only 60 MHz of spectrum, only 20 MHz can be reserved, and where
    broadcasters have given up 50 MHz of spectrum, only 10 MHz can be
    reserved. ”

    This is from Fierce Wireless, May 15, 2014.

    So what Cam fails to grasp and what the FCC chairman failed to mention, is that 30MHz is not guaranteed to be available. It could be as little as 10MHz! Meanwhile 40MHz is guaranteed to be available to bid on by AT&T and Verizon under these rules. So Verizon and AT&T can each get a 20 MHz block (if they’re willing to bid enough) and leave the smaller carriers to fight over the table scraps.

    • gmo8492

      Yes this was clearly an oversight on both sides, but the commission feel sconfident that 80mhz total will be up for auction. Sadly Cam is no longer the lead editor and will no longer publish articles for tmonews.

    • archerian

      the FCC has run various simulations on what the availability will be based on broadcaster participation. I quote

      The simulations indicate that the procedure proposed in the Comment PN for setting the initial clearing target, with the modifications described above, results in the selection of an initial clearing target of 84 megahertz in a scenario where 40 to 50 percent of broadcasters participate in the reverse auction (Scenario 1); an
      initial clearing target of 114 megahertz in a scenario where 50 to 60 percent participate (Scenario 2); and an initial clearing target of 126 megahertz in a scenario where 60 to 70 percent participate (Scenario 3).

      • Moby

        If the FCC was so confident that so many broadcasters would participate, they wouldn’t have had to alter the rules to keep AT&T and Verizon happy, now would they? They would have said that 30MHz will be set aside for small carriers in EVERY market no matter how many broadcasters will participate and left it at that. But they did not.

        No matter how many scenarios someone runs, until you receive the actual decisions by broadcasters to vacate you don’t know how many are participating.

        • archerian

          No matter how many scenarios someone runs, until you receive the actual decisions by broadcasters to vacate you don’t know how many are participating.

          I agree.

          The possibility that ATT and VZW would not participate heavily in the incentive auction stage 2 would severely limit participation in Stage 1 as the broadcasters would be worried that it would depress Stage 2 prices.

  • vinnyjr

    Tom Wheeler must have have his pockets lined with Dumb & Dumber’s $$$. This will effect the wireless industry big time. Look what T-Mobile has done to force changes in all Carriers. Without T-Mobile the Wireless Industry would be pathetic. Tom Wheeler should be investigated to see why he is against creating a equal playing field. This benefits the Customer. Forcing Companies like T-Mobile out will be business as usual in the Wireless Industry in this Country. This Country needs T-Mobile to flourish, if they don’t The customer we I’ll be paying big $$ for their service. Just My Opinion.

  • Bklynman

    I think best thing should happen is Cam,and Pantherlady,help out Tmobile,by writing them a check just before the auction starts,then Tmobile won’t have nothing to worry about! ;)

    • thepanttherlady

      You wouldn’t mind lending me some money to write that check, right? =D

  • AS118

    Well, I guess 30mhz is better than nothing. At least he tried.