T-Mo calls for FCC to reserve more spectrum in upcoming 600MHz auction


T-Mobile’s Un-carrier philosophy isn’t just about creating competitive offers and remove pain points for customers. It’s also doing what it can to change the telecoms landscape to make it fairer and not so skewed towards the big two carriers. As much is made clear in a recent blog post by the company’s VP of Federal Regulatory Affairs, Kathleen Ham. A post in which she acknowledges the great moves made by the FCC already this year, she asks for further changes to be made. 

In a petition to the FCC, T-Mobile asks that the regulators reconsider the amount of reserve in the upcoming 600MHz auction to ensure that Verizon and AT&T don’t walk away with the lion’s share: 

In particular, T-Mobile has asked the FCC  to increase the size of the “reserve” so that no matter how much spectrum is up for sale, at least 50 percent of it will be held in reserve for competitors with little or no low-band spectrum in that market. (By the way, that would include AT&T and Verizon in many markets).  This change is critical to guarantee enough “reserve” spectrum to sustain four strong national carriers into the future as the FCC has said is important.  As the rules stand now, AT&T and Verizon, which already hold nearly three-quarters of all wireless low-band spectrum in the United States, are guaranteed access to an unreserved 40 MHz of spectrum in the 600 MHz auction.  And it does not take too much analysis to quickly conclude that AT&T and Verizon can easily split the available 40 MHz evenly between them, which will suppress bidding activity and decrease auction revenues for the U.S. Treasury.

Although this move would certainly benefit the smaller carriers the most, it will still benefit the two biggest carriers in some markets. But the problem with the current rules is that T-Mobile is unlikely to be able to compete with VZW and ATT financially when bidding for the unreserved spectrum. Meaning that it will only realistically be able to add airwaves from the smaller, reserved portion of available spectrum. And with the blocks of spectrum being quite small, it doesn’t give T-Mo a fair shot at building out a strong, reliable or fast enough network to compete with the two top carriers. Essentially helping them retain their positions as the duopoly of U.S. telecoms.

Undoubtedly, the other carriers will have their say and lobby against any potential changes if it harms them. Whether or not the Commission sees fit to change the rules is yet to be seen. But if it does stand for fair competition and a healthy market, it should at least consider T-Mobiles request.

Source: FCC, T-Mobile

Tags: , , , , ,

  • Jay Holm

    I especially want T-Mobile to get national 600mhz licenses! 600mhz licenses that cover as much land as Verizons 700mhz licenses do!

    • Eric

      That will cost a lot of $$$.

  • Mike Palomba

    Honestly T-Mobile needs a financial miracle because as of now, despite how great of a company they are, they really won’t stand a chance in that auction.

    • Aurizen

      wont DT help em out with the funds?

      • Mike Palomba

        Nope they’re focused on their business in Germany

        • Aurizen

          oh :( well I guess they could take out loans or I think they’ve been building funds to go into their network.

        • Jay Holm

          They’ll figure something out, also Nov 13th there is the AWS 3 auction coming up, don’t forget about that, hopefully T-Mobile will be able to get enough spectrum to get more markets up to 20mhz, or even some 30mhz markets, instead of just 15mhz! For some strange reason, Waterbury Ct only has 5mhz of LTE, very strange.

        • Cam Fas

          20+20 or even 30+30 in Las vegas would be nice even with no 700 or 600 mhz but if they had 700 and 600 and 1900 and 1700 in vegas maybe in the future 50+50 In Las vegas I couldnt complain with the range and capacity I could push 250mbs real world

  • TWK

    This is what is known in the telecommunications circles as saying “Waaahhhh!”

  • sidekicker89

    I hope T-Mobile gets a lot of spectrum in the upcoming AWS-3 auction too! :) btw I can’t WAIT till next Tuesday when T-Mobile announces their quarterly earnings!

    • Jay Holm

      I predict no later than the end of the 2nd qtr of next year T-Mobile will have 60m total customers! Just a guess, just a guess.

    • Douglas Quaid

      AWS spectrum does not help their huge coverage issue. They need at least 10mhz of sub 1ghz to compete effectively. Without it, they are just some metro area cell network.

  • CPPCrispy

    I think that’s why T-Mobile went after the 700a spectrum. With no guarantee that they can compete in the 600 auction, T-Mobile went after the mostly unused 700a.

    • Douglas Quaid

      There are reasons as to why this is mostly unused, as it’s the smallest and most troublesome of the 700 range.

  • I think that customers should lobby the FCC as well with well written letters in support of T-MOBILE’s request. But of course, how many customers actually can produce a well written letter in today’s society? Not when they confuse their with there. It’s a sad shame! Good luck T-Mobile!

    • KijBeta

      That is only a problem if you make an assumption that 1. People are reading the letters. 2. The people reading know the difference.

  • Another questions about this is, are customers willing to part with more money to support T-Mobiles venture? I know they charge less than Vz, Don’t people understand VZ can do what they do because their customers pay a premium for the network? How many people are willing to pay equal monthly payments that VZ customers pay to get to their level?

    • Paul Garrison

      I would pay more, but I’m not everyone.

    • Paul Rivers

      Verizon has all the spectrum it needs, but is horribly behind in actually covering places with it. I’ve had Verizon for the last 10 years, and again and again their coverage is “almost have a good enough signal to make a call indoors”. My dad’s place. My apartment. Friends places. Grocery store, a certain bar…

      I’d personally be wililng to pay more, yes. My complaint with Verizon isn’t their spectrum – it’s that they’ve been sitting on their ass not doing any of the things that would improve my calling experience.

      Denser tower coverage for better coverage indoors – yes, indoors IS where I make most of my calls.

      Wifi calling – they’re never have enough signal coverage to cover everyone’s basement or house made out of unfortunate materials for cell coverage, they need wifi calling so you can always make calls from home or at friends place with similar issues.

      Hd Voice – they’re just, barely starting to do VoLte. And with Verizon, it’s terrible – your call will drop if you don’t have data, and their voice coverage is mediocre while their data coverage is even worse. They don’t put data on the good bands where I am (Minnesota), so often I have no lte data at all. I hate talking the phone with half the people I would, because I can barely make out what they’re saying with Verizon’s barely-adequate voice quality.

      And why is it that Verizon is the only carrier where I can’t order a cell phone booster that actually boosts the signal from them?

      Verizon needs to spend a little less money on marketing, and a little more money moving voice calls out of 2004 and into actually being able to hear people on the phone.