AT&T may choose to sit out of FCC auction if spectrum rules impose limits

AT&T may choose to sit out of FCC auction if spectrum rules impose limits
And just like that, the second largest carrier in the US is making it known that if it is limited in how it can bid in the FCC spectrum auction next year, it might just leave its wallet at home.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is proposing that limits be put in place that, in theory, would give smaller carriers a chance to bid on spectrum in a given market without impacting revenue. The proposal will be voted on next month by all the commissioners.

The rules might set aside as much as 30MHz of spectrum, nearly half, after bidding reaches a yet-to-be-determined threshold in a given market. Once that threshold is reached, then only companies with less than one-third of the spectrum in that market would be allowed to bid on the spectrum set-aside. The bidding will be on blocks of paired 5MHz spectrum.

In more rural markets, such rules would impose limits on the very carriers that might be backing these rules, like US Cellular, who has a wide rural foot print, but is also an incumbent carrier in several mid-western larger markets. By setting aside 30MHz, it arguably leaves enough left over for only one carrier to be able to acquire a block of spectrum large enough to deploy carrier aggregated LTE (LTE-Advanced).

In a filing to the FCC today, AT&T stated that restrictions would not allow the carrier to bid in markets that comprise as much as 70% of the US population. AT&T Vice-president of federal regulatory, Joan March wrote, “If the restrictions as proposed are adopted, AT&T will need to seriously consider whether its capital and resources are directed toward other spectrum opportunities that will better enable AT&T to continue to support high-quality LTE network deployments to serve its customers.”

source: Reuters



11. RodStiffington

Posts: 32; Member since: Feb 20, 2014

AT&T is attempting to publically pressure lawmakers into pressuring the FCC to make sure they get the most money possible out of this spectrum sale. It's not a credible threat, as AT&T won't risk their market position, but politicians will take AT&T’s message seriously. The Gov't had to buy back this spectrum from TV broadcasters, and if the FCC doesn't turn a big profit from the resale, lawmakers will have much less money to waste. AT&T: "If you won't let me be a monopoly, I'm going home!" America: "Good. On your way back, stick your Next℠ program up your own ass."

10. kanagadeepan

Posts: 1291; Member since: Jan 24, 2012

Another good reason to limit spectrum in auction...

9. Doakie

Posts: 2478; Member since: May 06, 2009

Funny. I have AT&T as my carrier and I don't even want them gobbling up all the available spectrum. I want most of it to go to T-Mobile. Sprint needs to die a horrible death. Long live a three way battle between Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile!!!

7. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

This is the real ATT -- if they can't cheat, they don't want to play.

8. TheRequiem

Posts: 245; Member since: Mar 23, 2012


5. JayBEE

Posts: 182; Member since: Apr 03, 2014

AT&T, beat it! Scram! Get lost!

4. ckoch125

Posts: 193; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

Boo hoo. Cry me a river att. I'm sure you'll just go line someone's pockets to change these rules anyway.

3. tedkord

Posts: 17525; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Wah! Wah!

2. drazwy

Posts: 377; Member since: Jan 15, 2014

Good. Bye bye. Go play by your self AT&T. Whhaaaa

6. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Sonds like definitely sour grapes on AT&T's part.

1. Professor

Posts: 223; Member since: Aug 02, 2013

YES... Now if Verizon also decides not to bid that way the spectrum goes to carriers that actually need more spectrum like Sprint & T-Mobile.

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