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Verizon Might Skip 600MHz Incentive Auction

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Jul 21, 2015, 11:15 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless said it is comfortable with its spectrum holdings at the moment and may not bid in next year's auction for 600MHz airwaves. Verizon is only using 40% of its licensed spectrum for LTE, which gives it plenty of room to add capacity. "The need for low-band spectrum for us is not a great need," said Verizon CFO Fran Shammo. The 600MHz auction is seen as the last real opportunity for carriers to get their hands on low-band spectrum. Verizon operates its LTE network in the 700MHz band (also considered low-band) and has supplemented that with LTE in its AWS spectrum. Big Red scooped up some 1900MHz spectrum earlier this year and will use it to densify its network through the use of small cells. Shammo said this is where Verizon will focus its network improvement activities for the time being. The rules for the incentive auction have yet to be finalized, but Verizon Wireless will be prohibited from bidding on 30MHz of airwaves that is being set aside for smaller carriers, as well as from bidding in markets where it already holds too much low-band spectrum. Together, these make the auction less attractive to Verizon.

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Jul 21, 2015, 1:49 PM

Con Artist

No one believes this nonsense. Verizon is going to bid. No question about it. Even if they do not need the spectrum, keep in mind that this has never stopped them from bidding in past auctions despite not needing the spectrum. Why? A: It will drive up the cost of the spectrum for competitors. B. They do not want a new competitor to enter the fray. They did this with the cable companies in the past and there is a reason why they are crying about Dish Network using puppets to bid in auctions. Dish was wrong of course, but Verizon (and AT&T) simply do not want to see a new competitor, not do they want T-mobile or Sprint to increase their capacity. Verizon will bid and so will AT&T, despite neither actually needing the spectrum.
Actually, this move is a threat. What drives up the cost is having rich pockets involved with the auction. I'm taking a guess that VZW is being more vocal at this point vs AT&T about this for two reasons:

1) I believe AT&T is thinking the same as V...
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