Justice Dept. Wants Small Carriers to Get Fair Spectrum Shake
The U.S. Department of Justice today filed paperwork with the Federal Communications Commission voicing its wish to see the country's smaller national carriers have a shot at winning spectrum in the upcoming auction. The Justice Department suggested that the FCC build rules into the auction that prevent the larger carriers from gaining large blocks of airwaves. "The Department concludes that rules that ensure the smaller nationwide networks, which currently lack substantial low-frequency spectrum, have an opportunity to acquire such spectrum could improve the competitive dynamic among nationwide carriers and benefit consumers," the Justice Department said in its filing. The Justice Department clearly implied that it believes AT&T and Verizon Wireless should not be allowed to purchase any more large swaths of spectrum. The FCC is currently drafting rules for an auction that is expected to take place in 2014.
Justice Dept. Suggests FCC Limit AT&T, Verizon Auction Participation
Officials at the Justice Department are concerned AT&T and Verizon will dominate the upcoming 600MHz auction if more protections aren't put in place by the FCC. The agency filed a letter with the FCC this week suggesting the FCC give more weight to the concerns of companies such as Sprint and T-Mobile, which seek to limit AT&T and Verizon's participation.
FCC Keeps Auction Reserve at 30 MHz
The FCC today finalized its proposed rules for next year's 600 MHz spectrum auction and kept the reserve for smaller carriers at 30 MHz. T-Mobile and others petitioned the FCC to raise the reserve to 40 MHz, but FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler believes the 30 MHz cap offers plenty of opportunity for those who may bid.
FCC Likely to Side with AT&T and Verizon in Spectrum Fight
The FCC is close to making a final decision regarding how much spectrum to set aside for smaller carriers in next year's 600MHz auction and T-Mobile isn't going to be happy. The FCC has already set aside 30MHz of the airwaves in question for smaller carriers, thereby limiting how much spectrum AT&T and Verizon — the nation's two largest carriers — can acquire.
FCC to Fix Auction Bidding Rules for Designated Entities
The FCC is moving forward with plans to alter how companies use designated entities in spectrum auctions and qualify for discounts. The existing rules have been under fire since the close of the AWS-3 spectrum auction wherein Dish Networks won $13 billion in spectrum by bidding through smaller entities.
Sprint Hopes 600MHz Auction Permits Joint Bidding
Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure recently suggested the company might participate in the forthcoming auction for 600MHz spectrum if it is allowed to bid jointly with smaller carriers. Claure made the remarks during a roundtable discussion at the Competitive Carrier Association's Global Expo in Atlanta.
The "lack of spectrum" card is always used in the purchasing of gold frequencies. I suspect that even with this fight, it will be time consuming and the larger will be business as usual while easily" Out bidding" the smaller.