The Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s spectrum auction authority lapsed last March 9th. Because of this, the FCC Chairwoman, Jessica Rosenworcel, has revealed that she does not have authority to grant the 2.5GHz spectrum licenses that T-Mobile won in an auction held last summer.
Despite this, FierceWireless revealed that the Un-carrier filed a request in March to use the 2.5GHz licenses by granting a special temporary authority (STA) from the FCC. While there has not yet been any public response to this request, the government agency released a statement to the publication:
“I wanted to elaborate on the Chairwoman’s recent Congressional testimony about the topic. 47 U.S. Code § 309, subsection 11 clearly states that ‘The authority of the Commission to grant a license or permit under this subsection shall expire March 9, 2023’; so, any special temporary authority the FCC could have would flow from this section of the statute, which as you know is still currently expired.”
The FCC Chairwoman spoke up to testify at the Communications and Technology Subcommittee hearing held in June regarding the “Oversight of the FCC.” Rosenworcel said:
“We are right now tying ourselves in knots trying to figure out how to get these licenses out, and the precedent we have here is complicated because issuing these licenses now could violate the Anti-Deficiency Act, which is a criminal statute.”
This week, the Un-carrier filed a legal argument on why it believes Rosenworcel has authority to grant its licenses. You can read the filing here.
So until the issue has been resolved, T-Mobile does not have access to the $304 million spectrum that it purchased in the auction.