T-Mobile, Sprint, and Others Form Alliance to Pressure FCC Over 600 MHz Auction Rules

by Istvan Fekete on April 28, 2015

Smaller US carriers and a group of policy and public interest groups have formed a new alliance to pressure the FCC into crafting the 600 MHz wireless spectrum auction rules to increase wireless competition.

The group, SaveWirelessChoice.com, is comprised of T-Mobile, Sprint, Dish Network, C-Spire Wireless, the Competitive Carriers Association, COMPTEL, the Computer & Communications Industry Association, the Consumer Federation of America, Engine, NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association, Public Knowledge, the Rural Wireless Association, and the Writers Guild of America West.

The newly formed alliance has two well-defined goals: First, it wants the FCC to hold the incentive auction of 600 MHz broadcast TV spectrum in early 2016 as originally planned. Secondly, it wants the FCC to follow the Canadian example and reserve a bigger chunk of spectrum for smaller carriers – 40 MHz, or at least 50% of the spectrum available in the auction.

T-Mobile, Sprint, and other smaller carriers have been pressuring the FCC to increase the percentage of set spectrum. Under the current rules, the regulator will set aside a maximum of 30 MHz. If that is the case, say Sprint and T-Mobile, only one small carrier will be able to secure a 10 × 10 MHz block in the reserve, potentially letting AT&T and Verizon obtain a further 10 MHz or more.

On the other side are the incumbent players, who say that if the FCC increases set-aside spectrum reserves, it will cut into auction revenues and scare broadcasters away, as broadcasters will think they will not get as much money as they otherwise might be able to.

It remains to be seen whether the alliance’s lobbying efforts will be effective enough to change the rules and bring more competition to the US mobile landscape.

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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