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FCC Chair Stands by Proposal to Limit AT&T and Verizon

Article Comments  10  

Apr 17, 2014, 3:29 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   @phonescooper

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler today reasserted his belief that AT&T and Verizon need to be restricted from purchasing too much 600MHz spectrum in the reverse auction planned for mid 2015. Wheeler's comments came in the form of a letter in which he responded to Representative John Barrow. "The Incentive Auction offers the opportunity, possibly the last for years to come, to make low-band spectrum available to any mobile wireless provider, in any market, that is willing and able to compete at auction," said Wheeler. "At the same time, a priority of the auction should be to assure that companies that already possess low-band spectrum do not exploit the auction to keep competitors from accessing the spectrum necessary to provide competition." AT&T and Verizon Wireless both hold significant blocks of 700MHz spectrum. Low-band spectrum is coveted for its propagation properties. Wheeler wants to make sure smaller companies, such as Sprint and T-Mobile, get a shot at the 600MHz airwaves. Wheeler's proposal involves reserving 30MHz in each market for companies that control less than one-third of the low-band spectrum in that market. This essentially precludes AT&T and Verizon from participating. AT&T believes the conditions are unfair and amount to the FCC picking the auction's winners and losers before it even starts. The company threatened to not participate, which could hurt the auction's ability to raise capital for a national safety network.

more info at Reuters »

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Comments

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This forum is closed.

B-Sides

Apr 18, 2014, 5:39 PM

What a joke!

I find it laughable that the government would step in to block two of the largest carriers from acquiring more spectrum at the auction. Its not like the government forced people to choose both AT&T or Verizon, it was the consumer who made the choice and they did so because these companies offered a better, more reliable network.
This would open a worm hole that would create precedent for other agencies in the future and is, in the end, bad for us consumers!
On a separate note, aren't both Sprint and T-Mobile flush with cash? Softbank is a major carrier overseas and DT is no slouch either. Sounds to me like they are trying to play possum to get their mitts on more spectrum at a lesser cost!
Wrong. Verizon is the product of a merger. Bell Atlantic Mobility, Prime Co and GTE not to mention Air Touch Cellular. They divested some of GTE's properties to Alltel and later snagged Alltel back after Alltel had gobbled up Century Tel and Western...
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---"I find it laughable that the government would step in to block two of the largest carriers from acquiring more spectrum at the auction. Its not like the government forced people to choose both AT&T or Verizon, it was the consumer who made the choi...
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gfondeur

Apr 17, 2014, 4:29 PM

legit question,

The 800mhz band from sprint it's not considered "low band"?

I ask because sprint it's been compare to t-mobile as a not "low band" holder carrier,
It's a fair question, and I would argue that Sprint is still at a disadvantage due to the IBEZ limitations on the use of its spectrum. They're also the only carrier with SMR spectrum, whereas 600MHz spectrum will end up as a roaming option for likely...
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Maybe it's because it's such a small chunk that it doesn't really count. I don't think they can do much with it.
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