T-Mobile wants the FCC to stop Verizon from bidding for spectrum in 12 markets next year

T-Mobile wants the FCC to stop Verizon from bidding for spectrum in 12 markets next year
T-Mobile has been trying for some time now, to keep Verizon and AT&T from using their riches to become richer during next March's FCC auction of 600MHz in low frequency spectrum. What makes these airwaves so valuable is their ability to travel farther and penetrate buildings better. For some time now, T-Mobile has tried to get the FCC to make sure that smaller carriers get to participate in the auction, so that the larger carriers don't end up purchasing the vast majority of the spectrum available.

To help the small carriers, the FCC set aside a spectrum reserve. In certain markets, some of the 600MHz spectrum is being held aside for bidding by carriers that own less than 45MHz of spectrum in that market. T-Mobile has filed with the FCC, requesting that the agency prevent Verizon from bidding on the spectrum reserve in 12 markets where it might be able to qualify as a bidder. Verizon is the nation's largest carrier, which makes it hard to see the FCC allowing it to bid on the spectrum reserve. After all, the reserve was instituted in order to prevent Verizon and AT&T from buying up all of the available spectrum.

The 12 markets that T-Mobile is asking the FCC to disallow Verizon from bidding on the spectrum reserve include:
Oklahoma City, Okla. (Verizon’s population-weighted holdings equal 44.83MHz),
Brownsville, Texas (Verizon’s population-weighted holdings equal 44.97MHz),
Springfield, Mass. (Verizon’s population-weighted holdings equal 45.92MHz),
Bozeman, Mont. (Verizon’s population-weighted holdings equal 45.41MHz),
Galesburg, Ill. (Verizon’s population-weighted holdings equal 46.97MHz),
Great Falls, Mont. (Verizon’s population-weighted holdings equal 45.09MHz),
Yankton, S.D. (Verizon’s population-weighted holdings equal 44.88MHz),
Farmington, N.M. (Verizon’s population-weighted holdings equal 47MHz),
Sheridan, Wyo. (Verizon’s population-weighted holdings equal 44.94MHz),
Minot, N.D. (Verizon’s population-weighted holdings equal 46.82MHz),
Kanab, Utah (Verizon’s population-weighted holdings equal 46.96MHz),
Valentine, Neb. (Verizon’s population-weighted holdings equal 45.02MHz).

Back in May, even after the FCC agreed to the spectrum reserve plan in order to make the playing field for the auction more level, T-Mobile and Sprint asked that even more spectrum be held aside from AT&T and Verizon. At that point, the FCC made it sound as though they had heard enough whining from Sprint and T-Mobile. Sprint, by the way, has dropped out of the auction, saying that it already owns enough spectrum.

As soon as the FCC makes a ruling on the T-Mobile filing, we will pass along the results. Meanwhile, T-Mobile is selling some assets in order to raise money for the auction. Today, the nation's third largest carrier sold 600 cell towers to Phoenix Tower International, according to the buyers. With T-Mobile planning to be aggressive bidders during the auction, this is one way for John Legere and crew to raise cash.

source: FCC, PhoenixTowers via TmoNews (1), (2)


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