Sprint decides to skip the AWS-3 spectrum auction this November

Sprint decides to skip the AWS-3 spectrum auction this November
Sprint has decided not to participate in November's auction for AWS-3 spectrum, known as Auction 97. Applications to take part in the auction were due today. Upfront payments are due on October 15th, and the auction takes place on November 13th. Among those taking part in the auction are expected to be T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T and Dish Network.

This will be the largest sale of spectrum since 2008, when the FCC raked in $19 billion in an auction. While this year's auction features AWS spectrum, Sprint did say that it would consider participating in next year's auction of 600MHz spectrum that was given up by television stations. Signals at 600MHz penetrate buildings better, and also travel longer distances. The FCC is expected to rake in $10 billion with November's AWS auction.


Sprint could have made the decision to skip the auction because it already has more spectrum than its rivals. The AWS spectrum also is not compatible with most of the carrier's current holdings.

Instead of expanding it's Sprint Spark tri-band LTE service, it's believed that the wireless operator wants to focus on enhancing it in 3 to 5 markets. Spark, which uses 2.5GHz spectrum acquired from Clearwire, works with special equipment on certain handsets. This technology allows the phone to quickly determine which of the three LTE bands is best suited for the specific task at hand, allowing for faster data speeds. Sprint expects Spark to cover 100 million potential customers by the end of the year.

source: Bloomberg

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28 Comments

1. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Sprint has the most spectrum of all carriers but fails to utilize most of it. I just don't get it.

2. QWIKSTRIKE

Posts: 1457; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

Hesse over paid for iPhone instead of pushing out network completion. He paid more than any carrier and still lost customers. They just need to execute on the completion of its network.

4. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Hesse should have negotiated better to get the iPhone. Can't bring an awesome phone on a garbage network.

6. lsutigers

Posts: 832; Member since: Mar 08, 2009

There is very little difference between what carriers pay. It is mainly based on order volume So naturally Sprint pays a bit more than AT&T and Verizon but less than T-Mobile. Besides, those contracts are renegotiated every cycle based on projected sales and carrier commitments to purchase an allotted amount of units.

9. QWIKSTRIKE

Posts: 1457; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

Hesse committed to a 15 billion contract ending in 2015 dude. Way more than any other carrier period. He had to get financing for that deal. There was no more money for network completion, and ew net work construction caused would be iPhone sales to fade and even leave after a while. He should have focused on finishing the network....talk about putting the cart before the horse.

17. lsutigers

Posts: 832; Member since: Mar 08, 2009

I'm not arguing the fact that the network should have been upgraded before bringing the iPhone but to say that Sprint pays way more than other carriers is not correct. Sprint's $15B contract was for Apple products, including iPhones and iPads for all Sprint brands including Virgin and Boost Mobile, it was a large contract because they committed to buy a lot of Apple product, not because they paid a lot more than other carriers. At the end of the day, carrying the iPhone and iPad was a good decision but I agree the network should have been upgraded first. Either way, that is now happening and the network has drastically improved in the last 12 months and will get much better in the next 12-18 months.

10. tedkord

Posts: 17136; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

So either the iPhone isn't an awesome phone or Sprint's network isn't garbage.

11. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

The iPhone is awesome. It's just Sprint's network that's garbage.

12. tedkord

Posts: 17136; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

I was just pointing out the flaw in his statement.

13. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

I know. I just wanted to give my input to your statement.

14. naittosan

Posts: 239; Member since: Jun 28, 2014

Give them are chance, they just had a changing of the guard

18. lsutigers

Posts: 832; Member since: Mar 08, 2009

You keep saying that but the network has drastically improved in the last 12 months and they are only beginning to deploy Spark. Just like T-Mobile's network has drastically improved in the same time period.

23. Mxyzptlk unregistered

He knows that. He's just being ignorant.

25. engineer-1701d unregistered

both both both

24. JMartin22

Posts: 2334; Member since: Apr 30, 2013

That awesome phone is overrated lol.

15. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

Sprint didn't hurt itself because of the iPhone, they hurt themselves with marginal service. The Nextel acquisition, along with Clear, gave them a ton of spectrum, but having spectrum was already the LAST issue they had. Having prime, lower frequency spectrum and the cash to upgrade their towers after those acquisitions cost them. Not having the iPhone would have cost them a lot more.

27. durag1

Posts: 35; Member since: May 29, 2012

Dan Hesse is no longer with sprint. They have new CEO because Hesse sucked!!!

5. lsutigers

Posts: 832; Member since: Mar 08, 2009

They are currently working on it. The problem is Sprint decided to gut it's entire network and rebuild from the ground up which seriously set them back. Now they are playing catchup. Although they have LTE deployed on 1900mhz to most of the country, they have only begun to deploy Spark Enhanced LTE on the refarmed 800mhz Nextel spectrum and the 2.5ghz Clearwire spectrum. If they bid and deploy on 600mhz spectrum the Spark network is going to be a monster, which is Masa Son's plan, that can't happen soon enough.

3. adream077

Posts: 15; Member since: Sep 12, 2014

Should i buy xperia z3 or note 4 ? Im so confuse

7. dorianb

Posts: 617; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

Xperia Z3

8. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Note 4. Why such a silly question?

16. MartyK

Posts: 1043; Member since: Apr 11, 2012

Sprint hurt itself when they did not invest/buy any 700-800mhz for building and distances frequencies. I'm dead center of spark and can't get a dam signal inside my home; no data, slow text, missing MMS.. List goes on and on. That's what is killing Sprint!

19. thunder18

Posts: 154; Member since: Aug 06, 2009

Sprint already has 800mHz spectrum via Nextel which they are still in the process of repurposing to LTE.

20. lsutigers

Posts: 832; Member since: Mar 08, 2009

Where do you live? Spark is not just the 2.5ghz spectrum, it is the combination of all three bands, 800mhz refarmed Nextel spectrum, 1900mhz Sprint PCS spectrum and 2.5ghz Clearwire spectrum. The 2.5ghz spectrum is not for in-building coverage, it is for broad, urban, high capacity, high speed coverage. For in-building coverage they have the refarmed 800mhz Nextel spectrum and to a lesser extent the 1900mhz PCS spectrum. Even in Spark markets, Sprint has deployed 3G and voice but has not finished deploying 800mhz LTE, so you may not see that benefit just yet. Additionally, Sprint is likely going to participate in next year's 600mhz FCC auction which will give it even further in-building coverage beyond 800mhz.

26. MartyK

Posts: 1043; Member since: Apr 11, 2012

I live in kcmo, with Google fiber. I went to sprint and got the lg3 to test it against T-Mobile lg3 with speed test.. T-Mobile smoke sprint.. Then i went to a sprint store to text the spark against T-Mobile, and again T-Mobile smoke spark!..

21. lsutigers

Posts: 832; Member since: Mar 08, 2009

I'm in a Sprint Spark and Verizon XLTE market as well and the company I work for just recently tested all 4 major carriers. Spark and XLTE absolutely smoked the competition.

22. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

Sprint has the most aggregate bandwidth, but it's either so clogged up with a mishmash of carriers or scattered so far apart as to condemn its users and its MVNOs' to competing for 5MHz in bandwidth. It's the epitome of a poorly built up and managed network. So, yeah, adding AWS would just add more colors to Sprint's checkerboard of spectra.

28. B00M_SHAKALAKA

Posts: 27; Member since: Sep 22, 2011

I'm in North Las Vegas, NV and I can't get a dang thing in my house, not with LTE and not with Spark LTE and barely (2 bars) 3G . I don't get any strong data signal until I'm almost and mile and a half from my house. I've capped and complained for 3 years now and no fix has been done , guess I'm the only that had called in ever....idk but everywhere else in Las Vegas Sprint works great for me for the most part.

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