Wells Fargo: AT&T to spend $10 billion on 600MHz FCC auction, topping T-Mobile's $8 billion

Wells Fargo: AT&T to spend $10 billion on 600MHz FCC auction, topping T-Mobile's $8 billion
For over a year, T-Mobile has tried to convince the FCC not to let the top two U.S. carriers, Verizon and AT&T, dominate the upcoming auction of 600MHz spectrum. Originally planned for last year, all of the issues surrounding the auction have pushed it to next March. The spectrum is coming from television broadcasters who no longer use these airwaves. And because they are low frequency, they travel farther and penetrate buildings better than higher frequency spectrum. For example, the 700MHz airwaves are used by T-Mobile for its Extended LTE service which the carrier is heavily promoting on television.

The FCC did agree to hold aside spectrum reserves to be offered exclusively to carriers that own less than 45% of the airwaves in a particular market. Amazingly, this rule will still allow the nation's largest carrier, Verizon, to bid on the spectrum reserves in as many as 12 markets. T-Mobile has requested that the FCC block Big Red from taking advantage of this loophole.

Even scarier to T-Mobile is the idea that its worst fears might come true. According to analysts at Wells Fargo, AT&T is planning on out-spending T-Mobile during the auction, spending as much as $10 billion on a 2x10 MHz block of spectrum that offers nationwide capability. T-Mobile is expected to produce bids as high as $8 billion, with Verizon looking to spend $5 billion.

Wells Fargo expects the 600MHz auction to raise $30 billion to $35 billion, about 33% shy of the $45 billion raised by the FCC's last AWS-3 auction. AT&T led the pack, spending $18.2 billion for those airwaves. Sprint has decided to pull out of this auction, saying it already has enough spectrum to cover its needs.

source: FierceWireless

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16 Comments

1. Bernoulli

Posts: 4361; Member since: Sep 01, 2012

If sprint has enough spectrum why don't they use it? I wonder if this spectrum acquisition will be fully supported by Deutsche Telekom.

3. joevsyou

Posts: 1091; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

sprint lol

13. surfboarder

Posts: 168; Member since: Nov 17, 2015

Sprint is last in 4th and will be that way

2. joevsyou

Posts: 1091; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

either way 8 billion should buy a good % and improve their network, No?

4. tedkord

Posts: 17410; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

That's not how auctions work.

5. combatmedic870

Posts: 986; Member since: Sep 02, 2015

They'll get outbid by everyone.

9. Bernoulli

Posts: 4361; Member since: Sep 01, 2012

Just because they have 8$ billion doesn't mean that they're going to spend all of it.

6. talon95

Posts: 1000; Member since: Jul 31, 2012

There are lots of markets where Tmobile will get plenty of spectrum. It is set aside for small carriers and where it isn't they can bid bigger since they won't have competition in all of the markets. I'm sure they can spend all their money either way.

7. mike2959

Posts: 696; Member since: Oct 08, 2011

Well Sprint can't play because they have dumped billions into buying Nextell, Virgin Mobile and other poor investments. Oh, almost forgot about the almost 500 Billion now for more than a decade of Sponsoring NASCAR.

8. combatmedic870

Posts: 986; Member since: Sep 02, 2015

They sponsor nascar? Who knew

10. Plume-Veil

Posts: 174; Member since: Nov 19, 2015

At&t and Verizon should not be allowed the 600mhz. If they do they will be like rotten Apple.

11. bambamboogy02

Posts: 840; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

No, not really, they are just smarter and invested wisely from the beggining. Why should they get punished for being smarter than the others? If others made more money in the same business, why should they get punished? I understand If only area specific carriers got to bed, that's great, but T-Mobile wants the perks of a big carrier and little carrier.

12. cripton805

Posts: 1485; Member since: Mar 18, 2012

Because then Verizon and ATT will dominate the market and raise their prices to sky high. Competition is good and up until recently Verizon really took advantage of it's monopoly because it could. I want T-Mobile to get it and drive down prices for everyone. We need better and better plans too.

15. bambamboogy02

Posts: 840; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

VZW followed Att with price hikes. From activation fees to then adding upgrade fees. VZW was never activelty raising prices first. Business models change over time, and now plans are pretty similar now.

14. joe1blue

Posts: 169; Member since: Jul 25, 2013

I'm so glad that sprint is last, it servers them well for making such crap decisions like buying Nextel just to kill the company off, the should have just left Nextel the way it was, I know so many people who use to own Nextel phones just for the walkies no phone out today can work and sound as nice as the Motorola phone speakers did and I just don't know why? The old Motorola phones use to sound so loud and clear! Why can't any phones today sound that way?

16. bambamboogy02

Posts: 840; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

There isn't a big ol' speaker in the phones anymore. People want thin phones, I would not mind the bulk of better speakers and sound was what I was getting in return.

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