& cplSiteName &

T-Mobile, Dish & Comcast Big Winners in $19.8B 600MHz Auction

Dan Jones
4/13/2017
50%
50%

T-Mobile has made good on its promise to be the big winner in the 600Mhz low-band spectrum auction spending nearly $8 billion to grab what the operator says is 45% of the total TV spectrum on offer.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the results of the 600MHz "Incentive Auction" on Thursday afternoon, after several rounds of auctions that initially failed to reach the totals that analog TV broadcasters were asking for to relinquish the spectrum. (See FCC's 600MHz Auction Hits $10B+ in First Week and FCC's 600MHz Auction Flops Again.)

The auction raised $19.8 billion in total. This is far less than the previous $45 billion AWS-3 auction results in January 2015. (See Hey Big Spenders! AT&T, Dish & VZ Splash Cash on Spectrum.)

"Little old T-Mobile walked away with more than any other company, 45% of all the spectrum auctioned," said T-Mobile's CEO, John Legere, in a video released on Thursday. That's an average of 31MHz of the low-band spectrum nationwide.

T-Mobile US Inc. was the leading major mobile service provider bidder, putting up $7.99 billion for nationwide low-band licenses. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) spent just $910.2 million. Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) is listed as not bidding a cent, and Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) had already said it had enough spectrum and wouldn't participate. (See T-Mobile CEO: We'll be a 600MHz Auction Winner.)

Cable and satellite TV providers were among the other big spenders. Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) bid $1.72 billion and Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) splashed $6.21 billion.

T-Mobile says that with the auction wins T-Mobile will be able to use the additional 600MHz spectrum to improve coverage and range on its network because lower-band radio waves travel further and penetrate walls better. This is a strategy that the operator has already been pursuing opportunistically through 600MHz spectrum buyouts and swaps.

"We expect to put this new spectrum to use for customers later this year," Legere claimed, saying 1 million square miles will be cleared for use by the end of 2017.

See the full video below:

So why did T-Mobile walk away with the most 600MHz spectrum? It is because AT&T and Verizon already operate their LTE networks on 700MHz.

As former Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said in October 2015, 600MHz and 700MHz "don't play well together," with interference concerns being paramount between the nearby bands.

AT&T and Verizon also appear to be more focused on adding high-band millimeter wave spectrum for future, gigabit 5G services rather than additional spectrum for 4G. AT&T announced that it would shell out $1.6 billion for Straight Path. (See AT&T to Flash $1.6B for Straight Path 5G Spectrum.)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

(4)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
DanJones
50%
50%
DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
4/17/2017 | 11:53:24 AM
Re: Verizon/Dish
The low-band wins by Dish don't make much sense as a bandwidth bait for buyers.
NorthwestTony
100%
0%
NorthwestTony,
User Rank: Light Beer
4/14/2017 | 6:37:06 PM
Re: Verizon/Dish
@Jim_Jackson - I tend to agree.  Low band spectrum is for coverage, which Verizon has plenty of.  Mid-band is for capacity, which Verizon needs and was prepared to pay handsomely for in the AWS-3 auction.  Dish has a sackload of unused mid-band spectrum that is exactly what Verizon wants.  But I'm not sure why Dish just bought a nationwide 5+5 nationwide footprint of 600MHz.  Maybe Charlie plans to sell the mid-band to Verizon and the 600MHz to someone who doesn't have nationwide coverage, maybe Comcast or Charter...or Alphabet...  It's fun to speculate!
DanJones
100%
0%
DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
4/13/2017 | 11:51:49 PM
Re: Verizon/Dish
You could be right!
Jim_Jackson
50%
50%
Jim_Jackson,
User Rank: Light Weight
4/13/2017 | 9:01:56 PM
Verizon/Dish
It's hard to see Verizon not buying Dish.  Sprint has too much spectrum so they can't buy them.  AT&T can't buy them - too many cable subscribers.  I don't see Tmobile going in that direction.
Featured Video
From The Founder
Light Reading is spending much of this year digging into the details of how automation technology will impact the comms market, but let's take a moment to also look at how automation is set to overturn the current world order by the middle of the century.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue – London
November 10, 2017, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
November 16, 2017, ExCel Centre, London
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
May 14-17, 2018, Austin Convention Center
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Muni Policies Stymie Edge Computing
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 10/17/2017
'Brutal' Automation & the Looming Workforce Cull
Iain Morris, News Editor, 10/18/2017
Is US Lurching Back to Monopoly Status?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 10/16/2017
Pai's FCC Raises Alarms at Competitive Carriers
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 10/16/2017
Worried About Bandwidth for 4K? Here Comes 8K!
Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation, 10/17/2017
Animals with Phones
Selfie Game Strong Click Here
Latest Comment
Live Digital Audio

Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.

During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.

She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Partner Perspectives - content from our sponsors
The Mobile Broadband Road Ahead
By Kevin Taylor, for Huawei
All Partner Perspectives