T-Mobile once again argues against AT&T attempt at low-band spectrum purchase


T-Mobile has been battling with AT&T lately about regarding the big blue carrier’s attempts to buy low band spectrum in a couple of different deals, with each side making their case to the FCC. This week, T-Mo filed another letter to the FCC arguing why an AT&T purchase should be blocked.

AT&T is interested in three lower 700MHz C Block licenses in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia. AT&T says that it wants to buy the licenses to increase capacity and enhance services in those markets, but T-Mobile feels that letting AT&T buy those licenses would violate FCC rules that require any deals that’d result in a carrier controlling one-third of the spectrum below 1GHz in a market be subject to “enhanced review.”

In its filing, T-Mo argues that AT&T already owns 60 percent of the spectrum in the rural markets where it’s trying to gobble up more. Magenta also says that in these markets, AT&T’s competitors don’t have much in the way of low-band spectrum, so if AT&T were to snap up this available spectrum, competition in the markets would be harmed and AT&T wouldn’t have a reason to avoid acquiring more low-band spectrum in rural areas.

If the FCC does deny AT&T’s purchase, T-Mobile “stands ready to acquire the spectrum in these markets at market-based, non-foreclosure prices” and deploy it quickly.

T-Mobile has been promoting its 700MHz coverage heavily lately, touting that with Extended Range LTE, its service can penetrate buildings four times better and reach twice as far as before. T-Mo knows how important low-band spectrum is, and so when it sees an opportunity to fight a competitor’s attempt to buy more low-band airwaves and possibly claim them for itself, it’s going to take it. AT&T and T-Mobile have gone back and forth on this particular matter, so here’s to hoping that the FCC reaches a decision soon.

While we wait, you can check out T-Mobile’s full letter to the FCC right here.

Via: Fierce Wireless
Source: FCC

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  • Guest

    Once again, we have another example how one wireless telecom company (AT&T) trying to monopolize there territory. In doing so, everyone pays higher prices for less given the lack of competition in the same playing field. Hopefully the government ensures equal and fair competition.

    • In reality, it is the government which ensures an unlevel playing field dolling out advantages to its favored paymasters.

      • Guest 2

        What would be your solution? Or, is everything lost?

        • Spanky

          According to this forum’s membership, the two acceptable solutions would be to either split the spectrum among the small carriers (because Verizon and AT&T are evil and the small carriers are benevolent and only exist in the interest of the consumer), or to give the spectrum to T-Mobile (for the same reasons).

        • RLB63

          Actually AT&T and Verizon were given free or very cheap, a lot of spectrum early on. That is how they got such a head start.

          No ONE carrier should own 50% or more of the low band OR high band in any market. That is just common sense.

        • dtam

          considering the fcc wants 4 carriers, I’d make the argument that your 50% number should more be like 30-40%

        • Guest 2

          I would say 25%, and if they have more than that already they should allow other carriers to roam or they should pay extra taxes for those.

      • Andrew Singleton

        Based on the uniqueness of the market, I would like to challenge such a pessimistic argument. Can you expand on the governmental advantages to favoring t-mobile? Do me a favor and get extremely specific. Because you cannot, because your argument is 100% unsavable. There is a reason that these competition laws exist. Have a great day.

  • john doe

    Why would t-mobile purchase this spectrum? It is in the C block, I thought t-mobile only deployed in the A block.

    • kev2684

      regardless of which block, A, B or C, as long as it is lower 700, it will work on Band 12.

      Band 12 = lower A, B and C (T-Mobile owns substantial amount of A nationwide)
      Band 17 = lower B, C (AT&T owns majority one or both blocks nationwide)
      Band 13 = upper C (VZW owns nationwide)

      • Allen Alberto Enriquez

        Thanks for the details kev2684!

    • ghoost4

      Well…take a look at the AWS a,d,c, d,e,f, blocks…now look at AWS-3 j,i,h,g, so why should purchasing the remaining 700 lower block be different? They can aggregated with PCS or AWS spectrum in markets available.

      • Antoine George

        Right t mobile snd sprint should be focus on building out there network before trying to take on at@t and Verizon like when I had t mobile and sprint I could never get service in my house so I was always on WiFi and with sprint I can leave my house where it says I got 3G but I still couldn’t get data so ones the point of having unlimited data where u can’t use it I pick network quality over speed and at@t is good over her in New Jersey

  • Why, enhanced review means just that the cajoling of the FCC officials will have to be more persistent, that’s all.

  • Andrew Singleton

    700mhz in Denver has made an incredible difference. There is NO argument that this purchase would not help competition in wireless. T-Mobile is making a smart investment.

  • It probably wouldn’t benefit the eastern panhandle of WV much (assumption based on the other two states mentioned), which I visit at least once per year, but having traveled through WV quite a bit, I can confirm that AT&T is one of the only carriers with service deep in the state there. It’s a pain because it seems as though you run through your roaming data within a day (though that was, fortunately, increased last year), and what I hate most about roaming is that the service is usually painfully slow. A TMO presence would be huge. I know a lot of people along the I-79 corridor that would love a real alternative to AT&T.

    • maximus1901

      Cricket. Same network, awesome deal.

      • Acdc1a

        He said alternative, not the same damn company.

        • Antoine George

          Cricket is a aliernative to at@t I pay 30 a month on cricket and best of all I just got this samsung galaxy s5 for 280 brand new I had t mobile and sprint and metro where I live they all duck but at@t I’d by far the best network

        • Acdc1a

          That’s like saying Boost is a good alternative to Sprint and Metro PCS is a good alternative to T-Mobile. If you’re against a carrier’s culture, why would you support one of their subsidiaries?

        • Guest 2

          What about H2O? It is a MVNO of AT&T but it is not the same company.

        • RLB63

          We need MORE than one network is the point!

        • AT&T does a damned good job. So does Vodafone. T-Mobile is just in it for the money.

          The more handset subsidy contracts they can sell to wallstreet and exchange for paper money, and pay its parent company in the form of a dividend, the more likely Deutsche Telekom will be able to buy UK telecom provider, British Telecom.

          T-Mobile’s network is never going to get better.

  • Philip

    I love T-mobile. I wish I can say for other type of business that would fight for consumer!

    • dtam

      I love them too, but let’s be clear. they are fighting for themselves as much as they are for the consumer.

    • bronxboi

      But don’t let that love overshadow the use of logic when looking at their coverage. Outside of cities, it is not good.

  • UonMyNuts

    As a former T-Mobile customer and a current one of AT&T I will ask you this. Why should any of the carriers be given preferential treatment when acquiring spectrum. VZW and AT&T are two of the oldest in the game here in the states, therefore are in a position of advantage. T-Mobile has been in business what, 15 years? Most of that time was with a parent company that wanted to invest little or nothing into the market here. T-Mo has made some amazing changes to the wireless industry, but when I am 10 miles outside of a major city and have Edge, GPRS or Zero service there is a problem. To become one of those uber profitable you must have a robust network behind the name. A minimum of Edge in the remotest of areas it not 3G. A cell phone is a communication device before anything else. If in an emergency and I can not place a call or send a text then the carrier is useless. T-Mobile is not entitled to anything in my opinion. If they want spectrum they need to pony up the cash and buy it. If they can not afford it, then review your business model and ask why? T-Mo is like the Millennial Generation, they complain and complain and have a sense of entitlement. Their customers are not much different either. All of these carriers are businesses, and in it to make money. Some make more money than others. The best product sells and controls that market. I don’t understand this brand loyalty on these forums. It makes zero sense. If you want T-Mobile to continue to grow and become more successful, do not complain when they increase prices or amend service plans. I mean this is economics 101 stuff here.

    • blokeinusa

      You must be a youngin’ (AKA. Millennial) because T-Mo used to be VoiceStream, which was a US based company….oh yeah, why put a cell tower in a population of 1?

      • UonMyNuts

        I am most certainly not a youngin’ (Millennial). That is why the obvious is so easy to see here. VoiceStream Wireless PCS was originally a subsidiary of Western Wireless Corporation (Western Wireless Corporation was a cellular network operator that provided mobile telecommunications service to subscribers in 19 western states and seven countries.). Western Wireless spun off VoiceStream Wireless to shareholders in 1999, creating a public independent company, VoiceStream Wireless Corporation. In July 2002, VoiceStream Wireless Corporation was renamed T-Mobile USA (End of History Class for today). There is not a single place in the United States with a population of one. However, in my parents town of 23,511 of upper middle class to upper class I should be able to get the edge network consistently. The service is so bad in so much of the North East, I was happy to even have a signal. How about semi remote locations that have hundreds of thousands to millions of people visiting annually during vacations? Having traveled all over the U.S. I have first hand experience and know that this is not an anomaly. It requires spectrum to fix this, and spectrum costs money. Well if Verizon, AT&T or Sprint have the money to buy the spectrum then so be it. AT&T as well as every other wireless carrier have all been in financially tough situations in the past. T-Mobile needs to generate more capital and stop crying about everything. T-Mobile is essentially asking for a Lombardi trophy even though they didn’t win the Super Bowl.

    • KoseKid

      There are rules in place that stop companies from having a monopoly/duopoly on trade. AT&T and Verizon have done their best to create such an environment by purchasing large amounts of spectrum and storing it. This is why Sprint, T-Mobile and many other smaller carriers have had little to no success in expanding their networks. It wasn’t until T-Mobile’s CEO John Legere starting exposing these practices that things changed. T-Mobile is asking to level the playing field. If you don’t believe me then all you have to do is look up the Antitrust filling of the United State Department of Justice in 1974. Also the failed merger of T-Mobile and AT&T in 2011. The government doesn’t want free trade and ingenuity to be stifled by a lack of competition. These big companies don’t want competition. Competition breads better prices for the consumer and smaller profit margins for corporations. If AT&T/Verizon are allowed to purchase however much spectrum they want (which will be substantial considering how much they gouge their customers pocket book) then you should never complain about how expensive anything is. That is economics 101.

      • UonMyNuts

        I do not recall complaining about how expensive anything is. My motto in life is “Grow your business to fit your dreams, not shrink your dreams to fit your budget”. That is why I am a successful business owner. I don’t cry about the competition. If they are beating me, that just means I have to work harder. It would be absurd if I asked them to slow down so I could keep up. This is capitalism in the works, and nobody has a monopoly in wireless. Here we have two very successful companies, two moderately successful companies and all the rest. There are plenty of MVNO’s around to choose from if you do not like the choices available to you. Yes they may operate on one of the big networks, but they are available none the less. This is the same mentality that warrants giving all the kids in Little League the same trophy. The champions should get the trophy and the rest need to try harder. T-Mobile has the same opportunity to buy any spectrum they wish, they just need a lot more money to play the game. Is that the fault of others? No, it is not.

    • Yazzie

      So you’re against carriers being given”preferential” treatment regarding low band spectrum purchases, yet you complain about T-Mobile having EDGE coverage, which needs low band in order to fix. Yeah sounds legit.