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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