Kathleen Ham, Vice President of Federal Regulatory Affairs at T-Mobile, is not a happy camper. On T-Mobile's blog, she writes that the U.S, government's upcoming auction of AWS-3 spectrum might not be conducted on a level playing field. She notes that based on past auctions, the government needs to auction off the spectrum in smaller blocks in different geographical areas to ensure that Verizon and AT&T don't end up monopolizing the results.
With 50MHz of prime spectrum up for grabs, T-Mobile would like to see the auction broken up into as many smaller 5x5MHz blocks as possible. And appealing to the government's coffers, Ms. Ham notes that by auctioning off more smaller blocks, it could increase the amount of money that the auction brings in. If the U.S. believes that some carriers would benefit from a 10x10MHz block of spectrum, the T-Mobile executive says that it would be okay to have "no more than one such large block in the AWS-3 band plan given the significant countervailing benefits of making the spectrum available in 5x5 megahertz blocks
The FCC will vote on the rules of the auction during a March 31st open meeting. The bands up for bids include 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, and the 2155-2180 MHz bands.
"The FCC should also take into account the effect its block size decision will have on its subsequent mobile spectrum holdings proceeding. If, as T-Mobile has suggested, the FCC adopts spectrum aggregation limits in that proceeding, 5x5 megahertz blocks would give all carriers, including AT&T and Verizon, increased flexibility to conform their holdings to comply with such limits."-Kathleen Ham, Vice President of Federal Regulatory Affairs, T-Mobile
"The 10x10 MHz blocks will appeal to AT&T and Verizon because they are larger and being auctioned in fewer geographic regions, making it easier to build a nationwide spectrum position. The 5x5 MHz block will appeal to T-Mobile, which owns the adjacent spectrum in 20 of the top 35 markets."-Walter Piecyk, analyst, BTIG