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A Visual Guide to 700 MHz

Intro Band Plan Verizon AT&T Qualcomm, etc. Comments  32  

Mar 27, 2008, 10:40 PM   by Rich Brome   @rbrome

Your complete guide to the 700 MHz spectrum just auctioned off by the FCC to Verizon, AT&T, and Qualcomm.

The U.S. government recently auctioned off a large, important band of radio spectrum aptly named the "700 MHz band". The name may be simple, but digging into the details of this band, things get complicated quickly, so we've created this handy guide to explain all the nitty-gritty details.

The auctions for the 700 MHz band were conducted by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission,) the arm of the government responsible for (among other things) regulating radio spectrum and the industries that use it.

Since the beginning of the decade, the FCC has been working hard to rid the airwaves of inefficient analog television broadcasts, and replace them with a variety of more efficient digital services. This includes digital television, of course, but digital television - even in high-definition - is efficient enough that the move to digital will free a significant amount of radio spectrum for things other than television, such as new cell phone service.

The 700 MHz band is some of that newly-freed spectrum. It spans 698 - 806 MHz, which used to be UHF TV channels 52 - 69.

What the FCC just auctioned off in "Auction 73" is only part of the 700 MHz band. Some parts of the 700 MHz band were already sold off in earlier auctions, but it all dovetails together. If we only talked about Auction 73, you'd only get half the story, so we'll be covering the whole 700 MHz band in this article.

The following pages explore the details of the new 700 MHz band in depth. We're going to skip some of the basics of radio frequency bands in this article, but that doesn't mean you should. If you haven't read the primer we created for the last major FCC auction (the AWS band,) or you think you could use a refresher, be sure to go through the first three sections of our Visual Guide to AWS before going any further:

Basics

Bands

Blocks

Now, for the rest of this article we'll assume you know all about bands, blocks, CMAs, and Hertz. Ready?

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Comments

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This forum is closed.

Rich Brome

Mar 31, 2008, 3:46 PM

US Cellular

Looks like we overlooked one semi-major entrant. It turns out "King Street" is actually a company bidding on behalf of US Cellular. Sorry! Embarassed

We're busy with CTIA right now, but right after the show, we'll dig into that and have a map and breakdown for you guys.
Hrm... making a map for USCC is going to be a major task. Sad I don't see much interest in it... unless a lot of people really want it, I'm hesitant to devote the better part of a day to making something only a handful of people will find useful.

P...
(continues)
...
CamelTowing

Mar 29, 2008, 1:46 PM

So what does this mean for ATT?

With ATT having a much smaller chunk of this 700 mhz spectrum, does this mean they are going to integrate into their existing network and run 700/850/1900 all together? I just can't imagine they would offer specific services on the 700 band only seeing as they have it in only limited areas.
Although it looks "limited" on a map, it includes practically all metro areas in the country.

Still, it is hard to imagine them launching a really major technology that excludes most rural regions and even whole states.

I would guess that they w...
(continues)
...
phonerep01

Mar 30, 2008, 10:35 AM

Existing Spectrum?

Where can someone go to see what holdings the carrier's have in the existing 1900/850 etc.?
Would love to see some diagrams of this.
...
rmcnamee

Apr 2, 2008, 2:10 PM

Does 700 MHz improve reception?

I once read that the lower frequencies penetrate walls better and travel further. Is there any truth to this at all? And if so, will the new spectrum have a very drastic impact on reception?
What you read is true.

However, 700 MHz is not much different than 850 MHz. In fact, 850 (cellular) almost starts where 700 ends. Therefore you won't see much difference compared to cellular networks.

You might see a difference compared to an al...
(continues)
bocephus22

Apr 1, 2008, 6:16 AM

Cox's SPectrum

What do you think Cox will do with the spectrum we wwere able to win?
AshDizzle

Mar 28, 2008, 9:00 PM

When are they required to launch it?

When are AT&T, Verizon and Qualcomm required to have it in service by?
They have ten years to provide "substantial service", meaning coverage of at least 20% of the population within the relevant license area.
Actually I thought 2018 sounded too long. RCR claims it's more like four years...

I looked through the FCC rules and the ten-year-rule seemed to be the applicable one...right from the rules for this auction. I'll have to look into it closer after C...
(continues)
...
AshDizzle

Mar 28, 2008, 3:43 AM

Does Verizon's total 700 MHz holdings equal more than AT&T's?

Rich:

I was unsure whether that map you made with AT&T's holdings represented EVERYTHING, including the Aloha purchase, or just what it won in auction 73?

I had been under the impression that it's B block purchases in combination with the Aloha purchase and other snap ups actually came to a larger (and complete) national coverage then Verizon. Is that not true?

Excellent article.
That map is AT&T's total 700 MHz holdings.

It is much less than Verizon's in both geography and bandwidth. (Even though they may have paid slightly more when you add up auctions and all of the private purchases.)
...
AshDizzle

Mar 28, 2008, 3:46 AM

Question about the maps

These maps and diagrams on the articles are extremely easy to understand, do you make them yourself, or get them from another source?

Is there any such diagram detailing the carriers current licenses for other bands like Cellular and PCS?
Thanks! Smile I made them.
...
AshDizzle

Mar 28, 2008, 4:08 AM

Digg It!!!

http://digg.com/tech_news/A_Visual_Guide_to_700_MHz »

Digg this story and spread the joy of phonescoop!
 
 
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