The FCC’s upcoming AWS-3 auction will be the biggest spectrum auction in the U.S. since 2008, and the list of companies qualified to bid has 70 names. The auction is set to begin on November 13th.
T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T are all on the list, as is Dish Network. But perhaps the biggest absence is Sprint. Old Yeller decided to sit this one out. Alongside the major companies are a host of smaller carriers as well as a number of investment and private equity firms.
To make it clear, the AWS-3 auction isn’t the same as the low-frequency auctions coming next year. T-Mo is still trying to ensure that the TV Broadcast auction for 600MHz airwaves is subject to more competitive rules. And the FCC is still dealing with legal proceedings which will almost certainly delay that 600MHz auction until 2016.
This month’s auction is for higher frequency bands. As reported by Fierce Wireless:
- One of the sub-bands consists of one unpaired 5 MHz block (1695-1700 MHz) and one unpaired 10 MHz block (1700-1710 MHz), licensed in Economic Area (EA) geographies.
- The other sub-band consists of paired spectrum. It includes one 5×5 MHz block (1755-1760 and 2155-2160 MHz) licensed in Cellular Market Area (CMA) geographies, and two 5×5 MHz blocks (1760-1765 and 2160-2165 MHz, and then 1765-1770 and 2165-2170 MHz) licensed in EA geographies. And finally there is one 10×10 MHz block (1770-1780 and 2170-2180 MHz) licensed on an EA basis.
As the “Data Strong” carrier, T-Mobile is on a mission to build out the fastest nationwide LTE network in the U.S. Acquiring usable spectrum at auction is just one of the many ways it can improve.
Of course, we’ll be keeping you up to date on any spectrum purchases T-Mobile makes in a couple of weeks time.