Spectrum auction drama: FCC to proceed with proposed 600MHz rules, reserves requested by T-Mobile unknown

Spectrum auction drama: FCC to proceed with proposed 600MHz rules, reserves requested by T-Mobile unknown
If you have been longing for industry drama, yearning for a soap opera like the days of Apple versus Samsung, then look no further than spectrum auctions.

The AWS-3 spectrum auction this past winter was a grand affair of competing songs from T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, and Dish Network. The auction brought in more than double the expected revenue from bidders, AT&T and Dish being the big winners.

The antagonist in many of the stories, T-Mobile, has been lobbying hard for the FCC to strengthen the guidelines of next year’s 600MHz spectrum auction. Classified as “low-band” spectrum (below 1,000MHz), the 600MHz incentive auction is expected to bring in an extremely pretty penny.

However, carriers that would arguably benefit from this beachfront spectrum are the smaller competitors. T-Mobile has been leading the arguments on that front, and has been able to get several rules written in that would limit the larger carriers from dominating the bidding in markets where they already have a not-yet-defined amount of low-band spectrum.

T-Mobile has been trying to get the FCC to go even farther with the rules than it already has, but no action has yet been taken. With that, the FCC is proceeding with the framework is has for the 600MHz auction next year. There are two main provisions, the first is a “reverse auction,” where the current owners of licenses (mostly TV broadcasters) agree to sell their rights.

Those licenses are then “packaged” and then a more traditional auction is held, with bidders making offers through a series of bidding rounds.

What is not resolved in the eyes of carriers like T-Mobile and Sprint, are the size of reserve blocks for competitive carriers. The arguments between the major players are not likely to change much over the coming months, but we are sure to see an increase in the rhetoric, and drama, like sands through the hour-glass…

source: FierceWireless

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13 Comments

1. youlookfoolish

Posts: 193; Member since: Dec 14, 2012

It's because T-Mobile is still largely irrelevant. http://www.fiercewireless.com/story/sprint-clings-no-3-carrier-spot-q1-tablet-customer-additions-mask-phone-los/2015-05-05 For all of the crowing and bragging the "un-carrier" is still last. Fewest customers, lowest revenue. They are honestly a drop in the pond, magenta nerds. Legere was so certain magena would jump into 3rd by Thanksgiving of last year. Didn't happen. Then Root Metrics blasted T-Mobile for still having the weakest national network. He whined then. Now more whining. Just quit Legere.

2. johnbftl

Posts: 283; Member since: Jun 09, 2012

Aside from that, their “big growth" in net subscribers was mostly prepaid. Without the acquisition of MetroPCS, they are a far, far distant 4th. There is a reason Verizon is #1 in subscribers while being dead last in prepaid. It's because they are the best, hands down in coverage. I, along with over 100 million other people am willing to pay the extra premium for my phone to work when I need it to. I've had all 4 carries. I've sold all 4. I worked for Sprint and AT&T. Nothing has given me the service that Verizon does. I live in the woods of Connecticut now. I have a little bit of an issue within my house, but the siding on my house is made of metal. It's not much of an inconvenience though. My kitchen is the only problem. Anywhere else I'm up to full bars and full LTE.

3. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

Why on earth do you care what T-Mobile does? Their growth, and Legere's bluster, has made wireless competitive again, and when that happens, the customers win. Because of T-Mobile's "Un-Carrier" initiatives, the other three carriers are scrambling, offering more data at better prices. That makes me think you don't understand what the word "irrelevant" means, because AT&T and Verizon wouldn't have offered double data, at the same price, and a lot of other recent developments if they thought T-Mobile was irrelevant. I believe the word the other three carriers would use, especially since T-Mobile has blasted all three in net additions for 8 straight quarters, is "dangerous," at least behind closed doors. As a matter of fact, im pretty sure the only time they would use the word "irrelevant" would be if they were doing an astroturfing public smear campaign.

4. johnbftl

Posts: 283; Member since: Jun 09, 2012

You don't get it. Their “un-carrier" initiative has had no effect on the big 2. Most of those net adds were prepaid through MetroPCS. If you worked in wireless, you would know that a lot of things like doing away with subsidies for phones were bound to happen. It was the direction of the industry. As costs of manufacturing goes up, subsidies go down. In Europe, and many other places in the world, subsidies never existed. The U.S. is an anomaly. Americans feel entitled to getting a free or cheap phone just because they're getting service, then complain about being in a contract. You don't want a contract, you don't get a discount on a phone. At the the carriers allow for financing of a phone. As infrastructure has grown, the cost of build out for the network goes down. That has allowed networks to lower prices. Legere is claiming to be the catalyst for all of this, when in reality it was the direction of the business long before he came into the spotlight. In 2008 I had carriers telling us to prepare for subsidies to go away soon. It takes over a year for a company break into the black on each customer. Consider all the customers that are non pay disconnect before that time, it is a big loss. Everyone cries about the loss of unlimited data. Understand that unlimited data was fine when it was 3G. Now that most people have a smartphone, network congestion becomes an issue. To ensure the carrier can support all those subscribers, data limits had to be put in place. As everything becomes LTE, and eventually VOLTE, data limits will increase and possibly go back to unlimited.

5. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

See, I pay attention, and "no effect" is exactly the opposite of what the Un-Carrier initiatives have had. In November of 2014, the Big Two offered double data for the same, exact price. Where was network congestion then? Where was T-Mobile's irrelevance? Next and Edge programs from the Big Two, where did those come from? You sound like a shill, and all you are contributing nothing but AT&T and Verizon talking points to the conversation. Your reasoning for data limits makes no sense, and then you say once everyone is converted over, unlimited could possibly come back. The networks are either congested, or they aren't. Adding all data and voice traffic to LTE networks isn't going to improve that.

12. johnbftl

Posts: 283; Member since: Jun 09, 2012

You either A) literally read nothing of what I wrote, or B) are too stupid to understand it. Handset subsidies have been getting phased out. Carriers cannot support them. Next and Edge, and every other carrier's program is a result of devices going from a retail value of $250, what they were before smartphones became the norm to upwards of $1000 now. If you bothered reading what I wrote, you'd know that I said back in 2008 I had carrier reps warning me to be prepared for subsidies to start going away. I also never said anything about people getting converted to LTE completely before higher data limits or even unlimited to come back. I said as LTE was rolled out into completion, meaning the infrastructure. It takes time and money to convert Edge, CDMA, iDEN, HSPA, GSM, and Wi-Max into LTE. As the networks have grown data limits have increased. When Mobile Share launched with AT&T the largest pooled data amount was 10GB. Now it is 50GB. When mobile share launched LTE was still limited. Now it outweighs the old network. Work into the industry for 14 years like I have and then come back and talk to me. Until then you have no clue how the business works.

8. djcody

Posts: 228; Member since: Apr 17, 2013

You're just stupid person. Do you realize that is bringing more competition to the table, otherwise you will be paying double if there is only 2 players in market. Some people like you just can't see what monopoly can do on any level of live, business, industry etc., so enjoy your multiple choice and don't complain about them, don't like one get something else. What a moron!!! this is to post #1

6. mike2959

Posts: 694; Member since: Oct 08, 2011

Well subsidiaries haven't really gone away. In Canada & other countries there's 3 year contracts! In the US, we have come up with nifty things like the "nxt program" so the carrier has taken that phone cost, and you're basically leasing to own. TMO hasn't shaken anything up, their adds in subscribers is truly prepaid, Metro etc..

7. mike2959

Posts: 694; Member since: Oct 08, 2011

So what do you all want? Speeds of TMO in the urban inner city? Coverage/footprint of Verizon/At&T? A cost cheaper than Sprint/TMO? Unlimited Data? Oh.. And a new flagship phone every 6 month's for free with no contract? These are FOR PROFIT companies that employee millions of people, & keep families fed.. I WANT these CEO'S to make so much money they choke on it. That's capitalism.

9. jsjammu77

Posts: 24; Member since: Oct 19, 2014

Some people just don't understand how competition makes others innovative and keeps them inventing more things. All they do ME rich. I pay Verizon MORE. Just stop it. Most people don't live in woods or in country.

10. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

What really needs to stop is spectrum squatting. Half of the auctioned spectrum in the country is "dark" because speculators acquired it hoping to sell for a profit without ever having had the intent to have a signal in it. Unless the spectrum is used in 1 or 2 years, it should be returned with a hefty "restocking" fee. BTW, practically all other countries limit the participation of bidders in order to maintain a competitive market. Thanks to the corporatist state, the FCC, whose regulations are written by ideologues and lobbyists, is able to harm the consumer so egregiously and get a pass.

11. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

Absolutely. Most of New Mexico could be covered in Lower C block 700MHz (Band 12), but the owners are waiting for the forthcoming enormous payday. It's ridiculous. The problem was that we sold it instead of leasing it with deployment provisions,

13. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

This is very true sadly, however: Most of NM will be LTE/2g bands in the coming months. Let me know what area you want and Ill check it for you. Also in ALB I get 50Mb/s when there for business with TMO.

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