The FCC is hosting a millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum auction later this year, and T-Mobile recently submitted a filing to the FCC to explain why it should participate.
T-Mobile explains that it and Sprint are aware of the need to avoid any inappropriate coordination of competitive activity before their merger is complete and the need to avoid any potential violations of antitrust laws while they remain independent. And so T-Mo says that it and Sprint have have protections to prevent sharing of sensitive information, including strategies related to spectrum auctions, while the merger deal is pending.
“The parties have protections in place to guard against the inappropriate sharing of competitively sensitive information, including any strategies or plans the parties may have in regard to spectrum auctions that occur while the transaction is pending,” T-Mo says.
As noted by FierceWireless, John Legere suggested earlier this year that T-Mobile could participate in this FCC spectrum auction with Sprint, which may have played a role in T-Mo’s decision to include the aforementioned statement in this FCC filing.
T-Mobile also notes that broad participation in the spectrum auction is necessary in order for the FCC to promote economic opportunity and competition and also maximizes revenue for the U.S. Treasury by accounting for the true demand for mmWave spectrum. If T-Mo were barred from taking part in the auction, it says that mmWave spectrum would be further concentrated, which would have an anticompetitive effect.
Despite T-Mobile’s pushing the FCC for a broad mmWave spectrum auction, the FCC will first hold auctions for 28GHz spectrum followed by 24GHz. The auctions are slated to kick off in November. T-Mo has previously expressed interest in mmWave spectrum for use with its 5G network, and given today’s filing and the fact that it’s not guaranteed that its merger with Sprint (and Sprint’s 2.5GHz spectrum) will be allowed to go through, it’s clear that T-Mobile wants to pick up some licenses in the FCC’s auction.
To read T-Mobile’s full letter, hit the FCC link below.