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T-Mobile accuses AT&T of trying to stifle competition for the government's 600MHz spectrum auction

T-Mobile accuses AT&T of trying to stifle competition for the government's 600MHz spectrum auction
Last month, we told you how a report from the Center for Public Integrity said that Verizon and AT&T are both relentlessly lobbying the FCC. The top two carriers in the U.S. are trying to influence the agency as it writes the rules for next year's auction of 600MHz spectrum. The main issue revolves around whether or not the FCC will put a cap on the amount of spectrum that one carrier can win. With plenty of money in the vault and plenty of influence in Washington, Verizon and AT&T are trying to get the FCC to allow any carrier to win as much spectrum as it can pay for. Sprint and T-Mobile, on the other hand, want to see a cap placed on the amount of spectrum one carrier can win at the auction.

The reason for this hot and heavy battle has to do with the low-band 600MHz spectrum. Such low-band airwaves can travel for longer distances than higher band spectrum, and can more easily penetrate buildings. Verizon and AT&T control 74% of such low-band spectrum, while Sprint owns 12% and 2% belongs to T-Mobile.

AT&T's vice president of federal regulatory, Joan Marsh, wrote on the company blog on Wednesday that T-Mobile and Sprint should not be worried. Besides trying to persuade the FCC not to impose a cap on how much spectrum can be won by one carrier, AT&T does not want the government to set aside some of the valuable spectrum for smaller companies. Marsh wrote that based on the winning bids from the last auction, it would take $20 to 30 billion for one carrier to dominate the upcoming auction. The executive says that this is too high a price tag for one, or even two companies, to pay. As for the "set-aside," she says that holding spectrum for smaller carriers would only force AT&T and Verizon to bid against each other for a smaller amount of spectrum, raising costs in the industry. That could eventually lead to higher prices for consumers to pay for cellular service. She also wrote that by adding a cap on the amount of spectrum that can be won in the auction, the FCC would actually be minimizing the amount of revenue being raised by the government.

"T-Mobile and others have also proposed that the FCC impose low band caps or limits that would permit bidders to bid freely only where they don't exceed that cap. While this rule may appear non-discriminatory in theory, in practice it will likely act as an exclusion. AT&T acquired 700 MHz spectrum at auction and has moved with determination in the secondary market to rationalize that footprint and deploy an efficient 10x10 [MHz] LTE network. As we have long said, 10x10 is table stakes in a LTE world."-Joan Marsh, vice presidemt of federal regulatory, AT&T

Kathleen Ham, vice president of federal regulatory affairs at T-Mobile, responded to Marsh's post by writing that only an auction with multiple bidders of every size will result in a competitive industry that benefits consumers. She added that AT&T continues to repeat the same message, which is that "sacrificing competition for duopoly is good public policy."

"AT&T has demonstrated admirable consistency in its public comments on the incentive auction--that somehow sacrificing competition for duopoly is good public policy. Only an auction with robust competition from multiple bidders of all size will meet revenue objectives and result in a competitive, innovative mobile broadband landscape for the future that benefits consumers."-Kathleen Ham, vice president of federal regulatory affairs,T-Mobile

The FCC has a very tough decision ahead. No matter which way it decides, two carriers are going to feel like losers even before the auction starts.
source: AT&T via FierceWireless

31 Comments
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posted on 03 Apr 2014, 12:27 4

1. Sauce (unregistered)


The same T Mobile that stiffed AT&T by deliberately targeting and poaching their customers lmao?….

posted on 03 Apr 2014, 12:45 2

2. robert26101 (Posts: 84; Member since: 21 Mar 2014)


Screw T Mobile! Get that spectrum At&t and Verizon.

posted on 03 Apr 2014, 13:20 14

5. TheRequiem (Posts: 153; Member since: 23 Mar 2012)


It's corporate butt kissers like you who ruin this country.

posted on 03 Apr 2014, 13:26 1

6. robert26101 (Posts: 84; Member since: 21 Mar 2014)


I'm not kissing their butts. I just hate T Mobile!

posted on 03 Apr 2014, 13:47 3

7. Sauce (unregistered)


Or anarchist brainwashed baboons like you.

posted on 03 Apr 2014, 17:54

19. QWIKSTRIKE (Posts: 859; Member since: 09 Mar 2010)


your thinking really shows who is brain washed. When you stop questioning and asking why then you lose the very thing that you value the most.

Below is quotes from another brain washed baboon in your opinion I bet right?

Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.

I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.

"The end of democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed incorporations."

Why cheer lead the very people that fight to make laws to rob your pockets as if they are your best friends? If they could they would pick your bones dry and brag about how they fleeced you.

posted on 03 Apr 2014, 14:18 1

10. Omarc07 (Posts: 241; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)


i agree hope att gets it tmobiile already sucks inside buildings thats why i left em

posted on 03 Apr 2014, 15:50 11

12. andynaija (Posts: 457; Member since: 08 Sep 2012)


But then if T-Mobile gets the spectrum they won't suck as much inside buildings anymore.

posted on 03 Apr 2014, 15:59 7

13. ojdidit84 (Posts: 297; Member since: 16 Jul 2011)


One of the things that T-Mobile doesn't operate is the 850MHz band which is only available through roaming on ATT's network. They have 700MHz from VZW that probably won't rollout until the end of the year. So they'd need some of that 600MHz spectrum to have better building penetration and improve their service yet you people want it all to go to ATT so that you guys can continue to complain about TMo? I don't get it...

"Yeah, they already suck indoors so let the other guy get it so that they continue to suck indoors." That's retarded and childish. I guess you all LIKE paying more for service that's gonna keep your prices high and and services limited instead of wanting the carrier that's stirring up the industry and causing change to continue to do so. Makes no sense at all.

posted on 03 Apr 2014, 16:41

15. Omarc07 (Posts: 241; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)


i was a tmobile customer 4 years i just got TIRED that everytiime i went to the mall or a building dwtwn tmobile went to no service i live in los angeles and tmobile craps out in lots of stores buildings sure tmobile has wifi calling but many buildings dont have wifi some do and its locked so your screwed. Now att on the other hand u dont need wifi to call cuz att usually always has signal in the same building tmobile has nada , i hate paying more and not having unlimited data on att i really do hate it but hey i can at least make calls in places with tmobile i couldnt.

posted on 03 Apr 2014, 21:07 1

25. reckless562 (Posts: 720; Member since: 09 Sep 2013)


lamo @ not having unlimited Data!!! Pfhuck that shlt!!!

posted on 03 Apr 2014, 18:05

21. alouden (Posts: 189; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


Exactly. Their argument makes no sense.

posted on 03 Apr 2014, 21:06

24. reckless562 (Posts: 720; Member since: 09 Sep 2013)


THANK YOU!!!!! again, WHY in the world pay more??

posted on 03 Apr 2014, 13:07 3

3. GadgetsMcGoo (Posts: 163; Member since: 15 Mar 2013)


All is fair in love and war T-Mo. Now suck it up.

posted on 03 Apr 2014, 13:08 5

4. networkdood (Posts: 6267; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


Corporatocracy

posted on 03 Apr 2014, 13:58 3

8. mike2959 (Posts: 225; Member since: 08 Oct 2011)


Just like TMO crying about Dish Network wanting to climb in the sandbox with the big 4! Big John is a big cry baby. Oh.. TMO... FIX YOUR COVERAGE!

posted on 03 Apr 2014, 14:13 1

9. papss (unregistered)


Glob has become the crybabies of cell service.. geez.. they take employees discounts then add them back..

posted on 03 Apr 2014, 15:11 8

11. medicci37 (Posts: 624; Member since: 19 Nov 2011)


I have Tmobile & coverage is great in my area & price is awesome! Btw In order for Tmobile to improve service they need more spectrum.

posted on 03 Apr 2014, 16:19 5

14. DigitalJedi_X2 (banned) (Posts: 346; Member since: 30 Jan 2012)


The majority of you commenting here are fools. How can you complain about T-Mobile's service on one hand, but don't want them to get the spectrum they need to improve the service? Makes absolutely no sense and just reeks of sheer fanboyism.

posted on 03 Apr 2014, 16:50 3

16. suavemezie (Posts: 62; Member since: 21 Jun 2012)


When you call someone a fool for voicing out his opinion, I wonder what you are!

posted on 03 Apr 2014, 20:56 1

23. DigitalJedi_X2 (banned) (Posts: 346; Member since: 30 Jan 2012)


Certainly not a fool like you are, that's for certain.

@SS Clown.

posted on 03 Apr 2014, 16:58 6

17. Galen20K (Posts: 512; Member since: 26 Dec 2008)


Wow, listen to all this unfounded hate by Att and Verizon fanboys. It's comments like these that ruin YouTube and most other tech sites comment sections, the immature nature of online folks is sickening.

posted on 03 Apr 2014, 17:51 1

18. robert26101 (Posts: 84; Member since: 21 Mar 2014)


Sounds like you're a fanboy of T Mobile. Stay mad!

posted on 03 Apr 2014, 17:54 1

20. papss (unregistered)


No a worse thing is the crypt keeper that dogs the competition and changes their minds more than a child with five sweets in front of them. T-Mobile doesn't exactly instill confidence with their customers and non customers alike.. BlackBerry back peddling, employee discount policy changing twice in a week. I say karma sucks and I hope they learn a lession.

posted on 03 Apr 2014, 18:40 1

22. downphoenix (Posts: 2302; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)


If I was Dan Hesse, I'd drop the whole T-Mobile buying thing and just tell Mr Son that they need to buy huge chunks of that spectrum. That is EXACTLY what you guys need to solve your coverage issues.

posted on 03 Apr 2014, 23:01

28. wumberpeb (Posts: 428; Member since: 14 Mar 2011)


That's what they're doing with their 800mhz from the Nextel shutdown, so adding 600 wouldn't be improving much and it certainly wouldn't be worth the entrance fee to get it

posted on 03 Apr 2014, 21:09 1

26. reckless562 (Posts: 720; Member since: 09 Sep 2013)


Commmoonnneeee Sprint!!!! Spark it up Baby!!!

posted on 03 Apr 2014, 21:28 1

27. genkidama20 (Posts: 36; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)


Always supporting the underdog and always will. And when the underdog becomes the alpha male, I'll switch sides. That's how it should always work. Keeps it interesting.

Go T-Mo! (at least until they become the major player, then I'll switch back).

posted on 04 Apr 2014, 08:23

29. tokuzumi (Posts: 272; Member since: 27 Aug 2009)


It's just a bunch of legal mumbo-jumbo. AT&T and Verizon will just raise costs anyway. LTE is cheaper for the carrier, but we pay more for data than ever before. I might have been born at night, but I wasn't born last night.

posted on 04 Apr 2014, 16:46 3

30. Slammer (Posts: 1001; Member since: 03 Jun 2010)


Does anyone know why AT&T was broken up by the government years ago? It was because AT&T controlled the telecom industry with well over a million employees. The government seemed fit to protect the consumer from a monopoly. So while the bell system was broken into small groups, AT&T was not exactly pleased as to let go of the power. The size was broken up but the financial wealth still remained. Verizon was one of the beneficiaries of this group with wealth and together, both VZW and AT&T have been a force of one. Exchanging assets and using their financial cushion to purchase their way to the top. Gobbling up small carriers and their subs left and right. Not actually building out networks but acquiring them. This leaving the smaller, less financially strong carriers to fend for themselves. Consumers spending more money with the larger making the two even more wealthy today. Sprint and Tmo are in a do or die situation that equates to far more work and money to build out their own infrastructure.

With all this said, I don't blame TMO for lashing out for wanting a good look at fairness. VZW and AT&T already control roughly 80% of the indusrty and prime spectrum. Those that are cheering for VZW and AT&T to gobble up even more spectrum, should becareful what they wish for. Soon we will all be paying for it if this happens. The two smaller carriers will never obtain competitve angles or size to defend against the two larger.

John B.

posted on 04 Apr 2014, 21:44

31. andynaija (Posts: 457; Member since: 08 Sep 2012)


Very well said Mr. B

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