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FCC to limit amount of spectrum that companies can win in 2015 auction

FCC to limit amount of spectrum that companies can win in 2015 auction
It looks like the magic of T-Mobile might have trumped the lobbying dollars spent by Verizon and AT&T. The latter two carriers were trying to get the FCC not to put any caps on the amount of spectrum that could be won by a mobile operator during next year's auction of spectrum by the FCC. T-Mobile and Sprint were trying to get the FCC to limit the amount of spectrum that could be won in order to prevent the top two U.S. operators from spending freely to buy as much spectrum as possible.

According to a report from Bloomberg, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler is planning on limiting the amount of spectrum any one company can purchase at the auction. The plan has been disseminated during non-public meetings. FCC commissioners will be voting on the plan next month.

The spectrum is being taken from television broadcasters and is being auctioned to mobile carriers to meet the skyrocketing demand for mobile spectrum. It will be the largest auction for the airwaves since 2008, when $19 billion in winning bids was accepted by the government. However, 80% of that money came from Verizon and AT&T, the nation's top two mobile carriers.

"All who want to participate in the auction will be able to bid. In order to assure coverage and competition in rural America it may be necessary to assure no one can monopolize the bidding."-Tom Wheeler, FCC Chairman

What makes this spectrum so valuable is the low band (600MHz) of the airwaves. This allows the signal to travel longer distances and more easily penetrate buildings. 

source: Bloomberg

13 Comments
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posted on 15 Apr 2014, 13:09 1

1. Jommick (Posts: 179; Member since: 10 Sep 2013)


I'd hazard a guess that the low band spectrum is still going to be won by either Verizon or AT&T

posted on 15 Apr 2014, 20:29

13. downphoenix (Posts: 2285; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)


They may win the most, but this decision ensures at least some of this spectrum can be purchased by the smaller carriers.

posted on 15 Apr 2014, 13:26 4

2. Slammer (Posts: 966; Member since: 03 Jun 2010)


It's funny how the article begins by giving Tmobile credit for being magical in rendering a victory and then eventually adds Sprint in regards to the fight. Before Tmobile garnered a cheerleading squad, Sprint had been fighting the FCC since 1998 for equal treatment for such auctions.

In any event, this is a win for smaller carriers to help compete on the spectrum level. Let's hope the carriers front an offer an capitalize on it or it will not make any difference.

I propose that if the larger carriers acquire any 600mhz, there should be an equal divesture of 700 to the smaller for balance.

John B.

posted on 15 Apr 2014, 14:03 1

4. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3840; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


lol I was going to say the same thing. Sprint has been fighting this for over a decade... How quickly people seem to forget.

I believe it when I see it. The big money always talks, Verizon & AT&T are the big money.

Let's see how this plays out.

+1

posted on 15 Apr 2014, 14:15 1

6. Doakie (Posts: 1167; Member since: 06 May 2009)


Sprint might have been fighting this fight for a long time but no one cares about Sprint anymore. They're the underachieving family member the just kind of disappears off doing drugs till everyone forgets they're even a sibling.

Maybe once Sprint converts to full on LTE and kills their CDMA network I'll actually consider them a valid contender. The fact that most of their network is EVDO which gets 50-200 Kbps means they're not in the running as a usable network for smartphones.

posted on 15 Apr 2014, 14:22 4

8. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3840; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


That's not the point. This article is inferring that T-Mobile had something to do with the FCC's decision... negating the fact that Sprint for decades has been lobbying for this.

Sprint is something people DO care about because they are the #3 carrier in the U.S.

I am a Verizon user & I care for Sprint, because with more competition... Well everyone wins.

posted on 15 Apr 2014, 14:43 5

9. Slammer (Posts: 966; Member since: 03 Jun 2010)


Sprint's network in launched areas, is about 50% up and running depending on which market a person lives in. The difference here is that While Tmobile, Verizon and AT&T have been layering the technology, Sprint has had the undaunting job of tearing out its old network and rebuilding it.

Roughly, 56 million people care about Sprint and are eager for its new network. Where I am located, 60% of the network is completed. The 4G speeds are excellent and my unlimited data plan allows me to utilize these speeds without reprimand. Every week a new tower seems to be added.

I don't blame those that can't wait or won't wait, but to disregard Sprint as a family member off doing drugs, maybe funny, but it is also quite inaccurate. Sprint has a new owner and he is cleaning house. It might be wise to ascend to a far better mindset rather than to addlepate the true conception of reality.

John B.

posted on 15 Apr 2014, 14:14 1

5. Guti986 (Posts: 27; Member since: 26 Dec 2013)


Lol. I noticed that too. But that's Alan for you. I feel like he worships T-Mobile, and even though he's the only one who writes about Sprint on here he only half explains things and always spins it slightly so T-Mobile is shown in the good light. That's my take on things anyways. It's all good though.

posted on 15 Apr 2014, 15:09

11. omaianu (unregistered)


I think the author portrays this pretty accurately. It was the magic of TMO that made this happen. Like you say, Sprint has been fighting this fight for almost 15 years. But clearly with no success. It wasn't till TMO joined the fight and started their campaign to change the industry did the FCC start to reconsider its policies.

posted on 15 Apr 2014, 13:38 3

3. wumberpeb (Posts: 421; Member since: 14 Mar 2011)


Aren't we at the point in this world where companies are largely competing on data services and not talk or text? Everyone offers unlimited voice and SMS, so why not use this 600mhz spectrum as a US roaming partner used by all companies. We wouldn't need 15 companies getting together to form a roaming alliance so that smaller companies can compete and expand their coverage footprint. Take all voice services off the carriers network and let them contribute a certain percentage of their revenue to keep the network running. 600mhz would trump all voice coverage currently offered by the 4 major carriers, as the lowest frequency that i believe is used is 700mhz, so let everyone repurpose their money and focus on data.

Everyone pays an equal share to keep it running, it frees up money for more profitable expenditures like LTE-A advancement, it's a better use of each companies existing spectrum if they put it all in one basket, and everyone can get better voice coverage.

T-Mobile - Great speeds, price but smaller footprint
Sprint - Unlimited data, price and a slightly larger footprint
AT&T - Best data speeds, slightly less coverage compared to...
Verizon - Best LTE coverage with a slight drop in speeds

All of them focus on data, so let's get these companies more focused on what people really care about...

posted on 15 Apr 2014, 14:21 1

7. Doakie (Posts: 1167; Member since: 06 May 2009)


With Sprint offering the worst possible data speeds I've ever seen it feels wrong to think they're focused on data at all. It's kinda wrong to even mention them in the same sentence with the other "big 3". An expansive 200 Kbps network barely qualifies as a data network, my Gmail app wouldn't even update here in Seattle, and I couldn't even send a Hangouts message in Waikiki. Good riddance Sprint!

posted on 15 Apr 2014, 15:06

10. Professor (Posts: 128; Member since: 02 Aug 2013)


Don't even go to Puerto Rico with a Sprint phone. When I used to have a Sprint phone I went in vacation to PR and I was never ever able to make or receive a phone call or a text message even when the phone was always indicating having all signal bars. I went in vacation again next year but this time with a T-Mobile phone. I don't have signal in some places in the mountains but I have signal in most places. Also once I made it to a place with signal I was able to get the text messages. I most places my signal was only 3G but thats still better than the Sprint phone never working at all.

posted on 15 Apr 2014, 15:14

12. corporateJP (Posts: 1548; Member since: 28 Nov 2009)


Sounds awesome. Too bad we live in a corrupt government state where legal bribery (lobbying) will never let that dream come true. Verizon is the worst offender, and they'll continue to whore themselves to the government to get whatever they want, all while taking the customer from the back side. Verizon is an equal opportunity player, they both give and take, and hard.

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