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T-Mobile Boss Asks Consumers to Pressure FCC on Low-Band

Dan Jones
2/18/2015

T-Mobile's CEO is rallying customers to try and get the FCC to make some new rules about the coming 600MHz spectrum auction that could help the operator and other smaller players get access to wireless bandwidth.

John Legere published a blog Wednesday urging consumers to "speak up for America's wireless future."

The T-Mobile US Inc. boss contends that the recently completed AWS-3 auction, which made the US treasury nearly $45 billion, was "a disaster for American wireless consumers." He claims that because AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) were able to spend so big in the auction they took control of a vast swathe of mid-band spectrum in the US.

"Three companies alone spent an insane $42 billion between them, grabbing a ridiculous 94 percent of the spectrum sold at this auction," the CEO writes.

Legere's concern, however, is not so much with the auction that has already happened. T-Mobile already has AWS spectrum of its own. Legere's issue is securing more low-band spectrum for T-Mobile. The next opportunity to do that will be at the 600MHz Broadcast TV spectrum "Incentive Auction," which is slated for 2016.

T-Mobile is big on adding low-band spectrum to its network for better range, coverage and in-building penetration. "It gives a wireless network reach," Legere notes.

He also adds that AT&T and Verizon already control 73% of the nation's low-band spectrum.


Read more about mobile moves on the dedicated 4G LTE channel here on Light Reading.

Legere is asking that consumers reach out to the FCC to get the agency to:

  • Not delay the auction until 2016. It was originally slated for this year. The theory being that AT&T and Verizon have already depleted their cash reserves for 2015 on the AWS spectrum.
  • Reserve 40MHz or at least half of the available spectrum in the next auction for sale to the competition.
  • Change the rules so that winners have to use the spectrum rather than keeping it fallow or selling it on.
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MordyK
MordyK
2/19/2015 | 8:47:34 PM
conflicted
Dan, I'm conflicted in how I see this. On the one hand, the fact is that today AT&T & Verizon control low-band leaving them with a better network and ipso-facto a more competetive and highly regarded network offering for their customers and potential customers, leaving them control of pricing for "reliable" service. Yet on the other hand, the only reason this happened is because T-Mobile didn't recognise the need for the low-band spectrum and didn't make a great effort to acquire some when it was on the block.

Another note is that Sprint has plenty of low-band spectrum by way of Nextel and they still have a customer retention & acquisition problem.
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