Is AT&T a wireless spectrum hog?
This is in spite of the fact that AT&T is today sitting on more spectrum than any other wireless operator in the top 21 markets in the U.S., and about a third of that spectrum is still being unused.
"It's hard to reach the conclusion that the wireless carrier with the most spectrum and best spectrum isn't able to serve its customers with what it already has," said Larry Krevor, a vice president of government affairs for Sprint. "Every carrier has to use its spectrum resources as efficiently as it can."
I think in AT&T's case the reason that they're not using some of their spectrum is because they don't have complete national coverage in any of the unused bands.
Spectrum auctions don't come up that often so the big telcos usually purchase some whenever they have an auction. They then try to buy or trade spectrum to fill in any missing pieces.
If AT&T built out LTE using their unused spectrum some would be in 1700, some would be in 700 and there would be some parts of the country where the would not be able to deploy LTE at all.
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I think the plan...
There are other companies sitting on spectrum they're not currently using though.
Sprint/Clear have enough 2500 that they feel they can sell 50 mhz. I'm guessing that they're not using the stuff they wanted to sell. I haven't heard if anyone actually bought their spectrum though.
Metro PCS also owns at least one 700 license. I don't know if they've acquired more through other purchases or swaps.
Cricket bought some AWS spectrum which i think they plan to use for LTE in 2012 or 2013. That spectrum was purchased in 06, so they've been sitting on it for a long time.
I wouldn't call that thinking at all. Who are they going to sell it to? Each other? They certainly have shown no inclination to actually use the AWS spectrum for anything. Suddenly, AT&T NEEDS T-Mobile's AWS valuable spectrum at the same time as they are hiding the fact that they have boatloads of AWS already. Stop making excuses. Seriously.