T-Mobile asks FCC to pull Verizon from 600MHz spectrum reserve auction in 12 markets

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Hot on the heels of news that T-Mobile sold 600 towers, likely to help finance next year’s 600MHz auction, it’s been revealed that T-Mo has also made a filing with the FCC to help its position in that auction.

A new filing to the FCC reveals that T-Mobile is asking that Verizon be removed from the 600MHz spectrum reserve in 12 markets across the U.S. The spectrum reserve is a slice of 600MHz airwaves set aside for companies with less than 45MHz of spectrum in a given market, and T-Mobile says that the FCC named Verizon as eligible in a dozen markets in which it shouldn’t be allowed into the reserve auction.

The markets that T-Mobile wants Verizon pulled from the spectrum reserve are:

  • Oklahoma City, Okla. (Verizon’s population-weighted holdings equal 44.83MHz)
  • Brownsville, Texas (Verizon’s population-weighted holdings equal 44.97MHz)
  • Springfield, Mass. (Verizon’s population-weighted holdings equal 45.92MHz)
  • Bozeman, Mont. (Verizon’s population-weighted holdings equal 45.41MHz)
  • Galesburg, Ill. (Verizon’s population-weighted holdings equal 46.97MHz)
  • Great Falls, Mont. (Verizon’s population-weighted holdings equal 45.09MHz)
  • Yankton, S.D. (Verizon’s population-weighted holdings equal 44.88MHz)
  • Farmington, N.M. (Verizon’s population-weighted holdings equal 47MHz)
  • Sheridan, Wyo. (Verizon’s population-weighted holdings equal 44.94MHz)
  • Minot, N.D. (Verizon’s population-weighted holdings equal 46.82MHz)
  • Kanab, Utah (Verizon’s population-weighted holdings equal 46.96MHz)
  • Valentine, Neb. (Verizon’s population-weighted holdings equal 45.02MHz)

“Verizon therefore has an interest in more than one-third of the suitable and available low-band spectrum and is ineligible for the spectrum reserve,” T-Mobile said in its entries for each of the 12 markets. Magenta went on to say that “confirming the accuracy of the reserve-eligibility list will help achieve the important public interest goal of protecting against excessive concentration of low-band spectrum holdings by the nation’s dominant wireless providers while ensuring competitive bidding.”

The goal of the spectrum reserve is to make it easier for smaller carriers to buy 600MHz spectrum without having to bid against larger firms and potentially spend more money. The FCC may have simply goofed on its list of spectrum reserve markets, and it’s possible that the list may have been updated before the auction takes place in March 2016. T-Mobile wants to give itself the best chance possible at acquiring that sweet 600MHz spectrum, though, and so it’s working to ensure that AT&T and Verizon aren’t in any of the reserves that they don’t deserve to be in.

Via: FierceWireless
Source: FCC

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  • Ascertion

    We know at least a handful of markets that T-Mobile is willing to bid in now for 600Mhz.

  • Fabian Cortez

    In short, calculated spectrum below 1 GHz that is held by a carrier is separated/segmented by PEAs and is an approximation of sorts. The issue lies with Cellular (850 MHz) licences that do not follow county lines.

    It is quite possible that the FCC made some oversights that T-Mobile has picked up on, thus the reason behind this filing.

    • Squonk

      Why sell it to magenta for a billion when candy apple red will give you 2 billion.

      • dtam

        because the FCC is “supposed” to be here to protect the consumer

        • Richard Roma

          Hasn’t been like that in years, ever since the GOP | R dismantled their authority.

      • Adam

        This is a public property auction. This goal is to best serve the property owner, the public.

  • neospade44

    Brownsville, TX…YES!

  • Durandal_1707

    Wait, the FCC is planning to let Verizon bid in the reserve auction? Verizon, who already has more low-band than any other carrier in the entire US?

    This better not be true. Verizon already has enough nationwide low-band spectrum to sit this entire auction out and still be perfectly fine. If they buy any more, they will just sit on it.

    • wicketr

      It’s based on their holdings (same for AT&T) on a per location basis. In some locations Verizon does not have enough spectrum to reach the reserve, so therefore are eligible for those locations.

      You can see an article detailing the cities any who is eligible where: https://www.tmonews.com/2015/10/fcc-releases-opening-bid-information-for-600mhz-spectrum-auction/

    • VernonDozier

      Well, Verizon also has more customers that would benefit general customers and the public with providing service in areas T-Mobile doesn’t have.

      What you have here is a well thought-out chess game which I talked with a Strategy executive at T-Mobile at length about.

      In 2006, the goal was to find ways for Verizon and AT&T to give up prime real estate to a third party, and then do a deal with that third party; often with stock. Finally, strike the original real estate owner with a blade (Spectrum Reserve request to the FCC via Legal). Much of this came from the book of business and type of game T-Mobile had at the time and lived by. (Reason I left). Still, and when that person wasn’t on their high horse, I said when business deals come together, the other party generally will consider them something simiar to a colleague towards a common goal but beware of blowback. Verizon gave you Band 12. Now T-Mobile is jealous.

      Remember– T-Mobile negotiated a “reasonable” spectrum reserve, used other companies in the process and now just needs to complain to the FCC about DishNetwork and now Verizon, in a way users complain about inability to use T-Mobile service. Protip: As someone originally in their Executive Training program, I listened to your recorded calls between customer service reps, and your complaints all the time.

      When I left, I recommended (in 2006) that the company hire someone with a cleaning background, maybe can tell me the benefits (outside of marketing a product very well) of Clorox Bleach and Glad Trash Bags over the store brands. They called back and said they were the same; the premium price is a result of marketing. I’m thrilled to see they used that idea too.

      • Fabian Cortez

        That is some mighty fine fiction there. However, you can’t be serious with this one bit.

        Additionally, Verizon didn’t give T-Mobile Band 12. A transaction took place where money and spectrum exchanged hands.

        Verizon had a looming deadline and did not contact one single broadcaster in the Channel 51 protection zones.

        • VernonDozier

          We enjoyed meeting with John Legere, in person, last week. :)

          What do you have to offer outside of the typical Cortez-ness? Let’s face it– anyone can buy a ticket to the Seahawks executive suite if the price is right.

        • Fabian Cortez

          I find this odd.

          Don’t you specifically harp on about the T-Mobile executive showing no interest in DASs, hospitals, etc.? Didn’t you allude to integration and possibly collusion with the German government? Thus your reason for leaving T-Mobile (apparently back in 2006).

          Now nearly a decade later, you’re hobnobbing with John Legere while still badmouthing him and his company.

          But please, do you have any proof that Verizon gave T-Mobile Band 12?

        • VernonDozier

          You misread it. Surely you’ve read the article “T-Mobile Swap Gives Verizon Spectrum, $2.4 Billion in Cash” along with “Verizon, T-Mobile strike $173M deal to swap AWS, PCS spectrum in dozens of markets” online. In return of the first transaction, T-Mobile received Band 12.

          For $120M, Verizon pretty much gave that spectrum to T-Mobile… At that price!

          It’s a chess game worth watching and who wins is the Generic version of Clorox Bleach.

        • Fabian Cortez

          Your own facts betray you.

          My statement of “additionally, Verizon didn’t give T-Mobile Band 12. A transaction took place where money and spectrum exchanged hands” remains as this is exactly what happened.

          If you don’t think spectrum is valuable and/or $120 million isn’t a lot of money, then you’re sorely confused. Likewise, different spectrum hold different value due to contiguity, bandwidth, coverage area, and broadcasting issues, such as the Channel 51 areas. Again, Verizon clearly wasn’t too interested in said spectrum since they couldn’t even bother speaking with a single broadcaster since they bought the licenses in 2008

          But please list the price Verizon paid for the 700 MHz A Block in 2008.

        • VernonDozier

          Let me know when you have something interesting to share.

          Everyone has the right to complain about the quality of T-Mobile’s network, especially paying customers with 10 years of tenure.

          Allocation of resources to fix coverage and connection issues comes from the person whose title is CEO. Otherwise, it’s just another nameless brand with a marketing budget; and they want to tell you it takes 7 times the marketing budget of the bargain-brand are equal one bottle of PineSol (Verizon coverage).

        • Fabian Cortez

          Please remain factual.

          T-Mobile has expanded their native network past the magical 300 million POPs with LTE. They are currently at 302 million POPs and will continue to expand and attempt to match Verizon’s coverage.

          What this has to do with Clorox and PineSol is beyond anyone with a modicum of sense.

          Are you sure they didn’t lay you off or fire you? I cannot imagine anyone who left a company nearly a decade ago, on their own accord, would insist on posting such misinformation when their own facts presented counter their argument.

          Oh and how much did Verizon pay for Band 12 in 2008?

        • VernonDozier

          Nice to see you scraping the bottom of the barrel. What’s this about being a part of a reorg?

          Seems you don’t know T-Mobile very well. The company goes through annual, and semi-annual re-orgs. Now, I was smart enough to work with an attorney (whom happened to graduated from the same school as The Mis-honerable Kathleen Ham.) As part of that document, I was able to negotiate as part of a re-org terms that the non-compete be forgiven as part of the terms of the re-org itself.

          I’m complaining about T-Mobile’s existing business in building coverage/capacity.

          I am an underserved customer, and while your position is cute, it also seems your taking a devil’s advocate role and complaining that Verizon shouldn’t have access to spectrum which enables the company to provide service to more customers than T-Mobile ever had.

          As for the original article about Verizon not being able to bid based on T-Mobile’s requirements, the biggest issue is that FIPS codes (and populations) within the FIPS areas change from year-to-year. Yet, we don’t know that the FCC draws its own lines against FIPS data; nor do we know what FIPS dataset was used. Most of the time, FCC relies on ZIP code data, which some FIPS data can be a reliable measure, but ZIP code data is generally more accurate.

          Using 2010 census data is not only disingenuous, it’s terribly inaccurate. :)

          So, what’s your new position except dragging other details into the mud?

        • Fabian Cortez

          Mud? Reorg?

          Who said anything about any of this?

          If you want to speak about mud, it was indeed your original comment that stated “(who graduated from the same highschool as Ms. Kathleen Pork-Rind… Err, Kathleen Ham.).” Hardly a nice thing to say when you want to hurl the “mud” card out there.

          If you feel you’re an underserved customer, then maybe you should go with a carrier that works for you as it’s quite clear T-Mobile isn’t. Again, I find it odd that someone would continue to pay and badmouth a company while being underserved.

          So, what’s your new position except dragging other details into the mud?

          The question needs to be directed at you.

          You have changed positions quite a bit since commenting on this article. Would you like to add in some information about the German government and their supposed inappropriate relationship with T-Mobile?

        • VernonDozier

          Thanks for the debate.

          I have other business to attend to.

      • Jay J. Blanco

        You realize tmobile is expanding coverage and not charging overages

  • superg05

    how the fu@% is verizion on the reserve spectrum list dirty money wins again with it’s well crafted in advance loop holes

  • steveb944

    “The FCC may have simply goofed on its list of spectrum reserve markets, ”

    Trust me it won’t be the first nor last time they ‘goof’.

  • guest

    I think in order to really maintain at least 4 phone/data wireless carriers, no carrier should own more than 25% of the spectrums.

    • dtam

      probably impossible due to the auctions. 20% it’s more realistic

  • Juan O.

    Off topic – but has anyone else noticed that the $10 5 gig match phone data plan for tablets is gone?

    • Cruise Guy

      Yes, BUT you don’t lose your current $10 Match your data plan. When you roll to the new voice plan, you do not have to move your tabet data to the new plans. So in other words, you can keep your old tablet plans. I have confirmed this with people three times over the past few days. Now if you give up that tablet plan, I bet you can’t get it back.

      • Juan O.

        I just got back from Twitter and according to TMobiles Help Support, anyone who still has those plans, match phone data $10, 5 gigs, is “grandfathered” to keep it. But on any new device purchased, that same plan is no longer offered. Sucks because I was really looking into getting the iPad Pro once it became available through TMobile and using the same $10 tablet plan for $5 gigs. Oh well.

  • Jay J. Blanco

    Wow

  • eanfoso

    Idk if it’s just me but t mobile really likes the number 600, 3 articles consecutively talking about 600, coincidence? Hmm, 666?

    • Jose Mendoza

      Illuminati Confirmed! Haha!

  • Zach Mauch

    According to this link: https://www.fcc.gov/article/da-15-1183a4

    If Verizon is banned from Oklahoma City then T-Mobile will only have to compete with Sprint!!! Huzah!!! T-Mobile has weak holdings in OKC so it will DEFINITELY be a target for them. Anyone know how long before we can expect 600 MHz to be live? 2017 be too soon?

    • Joe

      Sprint is not going to be in the auction if i’m not mistaken. Also we can expect 600 MHz to be available around 2018-2019.

  • (J²)

    Just wanted to remind everyone who may not be aware (and also interject my own thoughts). Carriers are working on the successor to 4G/LTE. This will begin being tested next year and we can expect to see it deployed in the following years. The 600 MHz isn’t even expected to be put to use until 2017 – 2018 which is in line with the expected roll out of “5G”.

    Carriers will either need to re-purpose the spectrum they already have or acquire more for another cellular data standard. Verizon has led the 4G/LTE race because of all the spectrum it had and it hopes to do this again (please see reports already surfacing).

    To be honest, T-Mobile seems to have set its sights on the future and not necessarily enhancing its existing infrastructure any more than it is already doing.

    Lets be realistic, T-Mobile can afford to to continue on with the #Uncarrier for several more years to compensate for its network is lacking and I honestly think that’s what they are doing. Unlimited Data? Music Freedom? Binge Video? These things cannot/will not last forever in its current form.

    Everyone (including those at DT) think T-Mobile is crazy because what its offering is not sustainable but I think T-Mobile is aware of that and are gambling that a large pay off is near.

    More Promotions = More Subscribers = More Revenue = More to Invest on the Future.

    • Acdc1a

      T-Mobile can and will continue to add subscribers with these uncarrier announcements. ARPU (or whatever they’re using as their metric now) is virtually unchanged despite an explosion in lower ARPU family plan lines. No one is stupid on the T-Mobile executive team and their profit (albeit small vs. the big 2) shows it.

      • (J²)

        You’ve basically gone a different direction to agree with me. I think it’s all according to plans at T-Mobile.

        T-Mobile will most likely continue the movement but with less freebies and/or more caveats. In exchange for Binge, we’ve quietly lost some promotions and saw a small price increase. I’d have a wait and see approach but it looks like T-Mobile is starting to shift that direction already.

    • Joe

      First your dates are not quite right. 600 MHz will only be usable in 2018-2019. 5G is only expected around 2019-2020. In regards to the last uncarrier movement i think its perfectly sustainable, first it’s unlimited video but at a low but acceptable resolution. Next the price for the new plans are more expensive which mean more cash for t-mobile to spend on network improvement. Also I think we will be seeing unlimited go away by 2017 or just be super expensive.

      • (J²)

        Actually, the dates are very right. Verizon will be testing 5G next year. Meaning we can see it starting to light up in the following years. T-Mobile will also be testing “alternative” options next year.

        Well, I’m glad you think it is sustainable but many analyst, wall street and other tech companies will disagree.

        If it was sustainable, then unlimited data wouldn’t be an issue or on the cusp of becoming more expensive or being discontinued altogether.

        T-Mobile is a very promotion/gimmick – happy carrier and all could easily come to and end. After all, we are not in contract.

        Yes, that’s how price hikes always work… Just look at Verizon. The process of performing network upgrades is ongoing which why the hikes continue to occur.

        I’m not trying to hurt anyone’s feelings, I’m a T-Mobile customer too but I know how to set apart fantasy and reality. I honestly do not care one way or another (who’s right or who’s wrong) I just wanted everyone to look a little deeper into the industry as whole.

        • Joe

          Yes they will be testing it next year but that does not mean that it will be ready for consumers to use by 2017-2018. Remember first Verizon needs two test it which will probably take 2 years till they have it all tested and “perfected” than we need to wait for new phones with 5g modems which will take another year to happen. So 2019 is a safe guess as to when we will be able to use 5g.

          And I can imagine that most analysts think it’s not sustainable but again at 480p and even more optimizing done by t mobile the unlimited video will not have to much of an effect on the network. Unlimited high speed data is a problem as streaming non stop HD video is very demanding. Benge on is probably how they will phase unlimited out.

          T-mobile obviously wants to compete with the big boys and afterall they still are in it for the money so we can’t expect to have low prices forever. I think in a few years t-mobile will be the same price like the big 2 but with more things to offer like unlimited SD video and unlimited music.

        • (J²)

          Usually carriers test in house and deploy new technology in certain markets and expand from there. There’s no timeline to go on to assume one way or another to every attempt to dispute it with you. All I’m stating is the possibilities. Verizon is the largest carrier and was 1st at the 4G race. Things have changed, data speeds are very important and we can expect all the carriers to be racing to be the first to 5G.

          Just reviewing the history, it took Verizon less than 2 years to get 4G out to the public.

          Unfortunately, not all carriers have the best strategy as far as their network goes – Just look at Sprint (Heck, even T-Mobile for example). I’m willing to bet the roll out of 5G will not take as long as you think to begin.

          The anti – unlimited data movement is just a way for carriers to charge overage fees and/or allow you to pay for what you use instead of letting you pay for unlimited use. Many people who have unlimited data are not heavy data users. Carriers even tried to defend doing away with unlimited plans by saying the average customer uses less than 3GB per month and therefor they do not need it.

          I’m sure some on limited plans on binge will use more data than those who actually pay for unlimited – That’s the whole purpose to allow customers to use data that does not count against them.

          You’re last paragraph is pretty much saying what I’ve been saying.

        • Joe

          Yeah the timing of when it will be diploide is just my personal opinion obviously I could definitely be wrong. I pretty much agree with the rest.

    • disqus_DFnvXJ7c9h

      I think the binge on is a brilliant move at mitigating over usage of the network. Even if most people watch a bit more video at 480p it’s such a huge lower output of overall THROUGHPUT that it makes up for it. Frankly data as in GB is purchased in such large amounts that carriers are not actually affected by GB usage but more on available bandwidth. Because everyone wants to be the fastest they cant start lowering everyones speeds. But by making the largest overall usage of throughput lowered, compressed, and “optimized” they can drastically lower the impact of more users on their network.

      • (J²)

        Yep, you are correct. Data is data, it doesn’t matter if you are streaming music, videos, downloading content to burn through data doing every day things.

        BUT Binge On doesn’t do much for available bandwidth.

        As I mentioned, data is data (compressed, optimized or whatever doesn’t matter). T-Mobile has raised the price on some of its tiers while white listing video and music services and essentially making them UNLIMITED. If T-Mobile keeps white listing all of its network traffic, depending on the user all plans could be thought of as unlimited.

        People seem to think that data varies. At the end of the day 1GB (whatever you’ve done to reach it) is still 1GB. Yeah, compressing and optimizing helps make this realistic but as for it being sustainable, that’s a completely different story.

        Most people who have unlimited plans steam a lot of content and usually at whatever quality the connection will allow for (many cases, I’m sure the lowest quality). So basically, the only change is the content is “optimized”.

        I’m not against Binge On, I don’t think T-Mobile is going to suffer immediately and for what T-Mobile is trying to accomplish its not a bad idea. BUT, I will say that I’m sure this program will not last in its current form if T-Mobile continues to grow.

        Again, that’s just my take on the situation. I’m not trying to take away anyone opinion, we are all entitled.

        • disqus_DFnvXJ7c9h

          throughput and bandwidth are not the same as data usage. Tmobile doesn’t have a data usage limit. They can buy more wholesale GBs at literally fractions of a cent. Their issue is throughput and Bandwidth which is amount of people accessing at the same time. Binge on compression allows for more people to access at the same time by lowering the throughput of each individual individual from 720/1080p streams which are much higher bandwidth to 480 which requires much less bandwidth.

          From a network standpoint it’s genius, however from a marketing standpoint the only way a company like Tmobile could get away with this is to make it a “feature” that you can disable and also say HEY it’s now free.. well sorta because you have to give up your unlimited stash for 20gb cap limit (I opted out). However if you just want the compression so you can stash more data they do allow that. Because it’s vastly to their benefit to increase bandwidth and throughput through compressing the biggest usage which is video.

        • (J²)

          I know the difference but it’s not going to make a big difference. That’s what I’m attempting to explain.

          Do you really think customers are going to take turns steaming for the sake of bandwidth? Heck no!

          Data caps, throttling and etc. discourage heavy data use of any sort. T-Mobile now offers semi-unlimited plans (allowing for unlimited music and video streaming) which encourages heavy use.

          T-Mobile is undoing what has become an industry standard set by the larger carrier. This makes for a GREAT uncarrier movement but we have to think of the real statistics here.

          Now that music and video content doesn’t count against data, customers essentially have a semi-unlimited plan. More usage (at peak times and etc) will require more bandwidth.

          Again, this is something that wasn’t previously occurring so we can expect a significant boost in network traffic especially over time.

          I never said it was bad, I basically said its something the company has to keep an eye on especially as T-Mobile grows to be the size of Verizon and AT&T.

  • AS118

    Good of them to do that. I hope T-mobile keeps competing and improving the industry. That said, I hope Sprint does well too. T-mobile’s been giving it a serious beating lately, and having only 3 carriers might make things worse for all of us.

  • Josh McDaniel

    Yay I see sheridan wyoming on there! I live in Cheyenne and while I have good service here if I just go 15 miles out of town it drops off and I’m roaming. So hopefully this means tmobile will grow out. I wish they’d buy out union wireless but I doubt they’d get federal approval for that.