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AT&T Open to Spectrum Limits In Incentive Auction

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Dec 10, 2013, 10:59 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson indicated that AT&T would accept the idea of placing limitations on how much 600MHz spectrum a single carrier can acquire in the upcoming incentive auction, but only if such limits are applied evenly. The Federal Communications Commission has delayed the auction until the middle of 2015. In a letter published last week, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler implied that Sprint and T-Mobile might have a priority over larger carriers AT&T and Verizon in the auction, because AT&T and Verizon already have control over significant low-band spectrum holdings with their 700MHz licenses. Sprint and T-Mobile have been vocal about their desire for the 600MHz spectrum, as it propagates better than high-band spectrum and neither company has 700MHz spectrum. Stephenson argued that placing limits on participants could drive down the amount of revenue generated by the spectrum. The 600MHz spectrum is being used by television broadcasters. They are being asked to sell their licenses to mobile network operators in order to improve the availability of mobile broadband.

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