A Visual Guide to 700 MHz
Verizon really whipped out its wallet in Auction 73. It spent a whopping $9.4 billion in this auction.
Verizon won the most prized spectrum in the auction: the Upper 700 MHz C block. This particular slice of spectrum is valuable for two reasons: geography and bandwidth.
First, the FCC offered the Upper C block in just a handful of very large regions: six licenses cover the entire continental US. Verizon snagged all six, plus Hawaii.
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Second, the Upper C block is a full 22 MHz wide, compared to 12 MHz for the other major blocks. That extra bandwidth means extra capacity, for handling more voice calls and/or more data.
(The Upper C block is the only Upper 700 MHz block successfully auctioned off to date, since the Upper D block failed to sell in Auction 73. Therefore any other blocks discussed in this article are in the Lower 700 MHz band.)
Verizon didn't stop there, though. It also picked up scattered extra licenses in the Lower A and B blocks in Auction 73. In some areas, it picked up both, giving it a grand total of 46 MHz of fresh 700 MHz spectrum in those areas, which include LA, Chicago, and Miami.
Verizon Wireless 700 MHz Licenses
Each of these blocks is set up slightly differently. Besides the bandwidth difference mentioned above, the Lower A and B blocks are divided into different, smaller geographic areas. The Lower A block is divided up by EAs, while the Lower B block is divvied up by the much smaller CMAs. For example, Verizon's new A-block license for the LA area stretches all the way into Arizona, while their new B-block license for LA just covers LA and Anaheim.
Having 700 MHz spectrum completely nationwide gives Verizon the unique opportunity to launch a whole new national network with relative ease, which is extremely rare. Although they haven't announced specific plans, it would be perfect spectrum for Verizon to launch its new LTE network.
T-Mobile Says It Will Start Using 600 MHz Spectrum This Year
"T-Mobile now has the largest swath of unused low-band spectrum in the country," said T-Mobile CEO John Legere about the company's 600 MHz auction winnings. The company successfully won an average of 31 MHz (ranging between 20 MHz and 50 MHz) of the 70 MHz low-band spectrum auctioned off by TV stations and the FCC.
FCC Says AT&T Can Buy 700 MHz Licenses from Peoples
The FCC has approved AT&T's request to purchase two Lower 700 MHz C Block licenses from Peoples Wireless in Texas. The transaction gives AT&T 24 MHz of contiguous, paired Lower 700 MHz spectrum in two cellular market areas.
AT&T Seeking 700MHz Spectrum from Peoples Wireless
AT&T has asked the FCC for permission to purchase two Lower 700 MHz C Block licenses from Peoples Wireless in Texas. If granted, AT&T would hold 24 MHz of contiguous, paired Lower 700 MHz spectrum in the two cellular market areas in question.
Verizon's 1900 MHz Spectrum In NYC Now Entirely LTE
Verizon Wireless has completed refarming its 1900 MHz spectrum in the country's largest city, an effort first begun in 2014. The company recently converted the last remaining 10 MHz block from CDMA 3G to LTE 4G, which means Verizon is running LTE on 20 MHz of its Band 2 spectrum in New York City.