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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Sprint and T-Mobile Form Alliance to Raise Spectrum Reserve

As reported by Wireless Week: Sprint and T-Mobile have formed a rebel alliance of sorts to thwart AT&T and Verizon from garnering more low-band spectrum.

Image result for Sprint and T-Mobile Form AllianceThe nation’s third- and fourth-largest carriers, along with a number of rural carriers and consumer advocacy groups, have launched a website that aims to increase the FCC’s reserve of 600 MHz spectrum in the upcoming incentive auction. 

The new website features letters written to the FCC by T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray, as well as one by Charter, among others. There’s also a call to action, where visitors to the website are asked to make their voices heard via a form letter addressed to the FCC. 

“I am writing in support of wireless choice and to make sure Verizon and AT&T do not control the future of wireless by dominating the nation’s airwaves and limiting consumer choice,” the form letter reads. “For the next auction of low-band spectrum, the FCC needs to do more to protect the quantity and quality of the low-band spectrum that’s available for competitive carriers challenging AT&T and Verizon in the marketplace.”

Image result for 600MHz Spectrum reserveSprint, T-Mobile and Charter have all been vocal proponents of increasing the amount of spectrum reserved for smaller carriers. Sprint and T-mobile are arguing that 50 percent of the valuable low-band 600 MHz airwaves be set aside for smaller carriers. The two companies are also asking that the FCC not impose further delays on the auction. 

The new website is part of an ongoing battle that some say is about evening the playing field between Verizon and AT&T, and everyone else. 

A report from Reuters late last month stated that the FCC would not raise the reserve and would likely keep just 30 percent of the available spectrum for smaller carriers. 

AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon have all made public plans to participate in the auctions. Sprint is still undecided and has sat out the previous two FCC spectrum auctions, including the record-smashing AWS-3 auction that pulled in more than $40 billion in revenue.

After the AWS-3 auction netted a much higher revenue than anticipated, expectations are higher for the 600 MHz auction. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is predicting $10 billion to $40 billion in net proceeds from the auction will go toward paying down the national deficit.

The CBO expects anywhere from 20-100 MHz of broadcast spectrum will be cleared and open for bidding.