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AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile clash on FCC rules for upcoming spectrum auction

News by Andrew Kameka on Wednesday May 07, 2014.

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When the FCC hosts an auction for spectrum voluntary given up by broadcasters to sell to wireless network operators, AT&T and Verizon will not be able to acquire as much spectrum as T-Mobile and Sprint. That doesn't sit well with the nation's two largest carriers. The FCC has decided that it will limit the purchasing ability of AT&T and Verizon because it doesn't want the two largest operators to have so much control of the wireless industry. With the largest subscriber totals and spectrum holdings, the two leading carriers are in a dominant position. In fact, the combined subscriber totals of Sprint and T-Mobile is still less than either of the two two top carriers.

The FCC seeks to give T-Mobile and Sprint a leg-up in the 2015 auctions by reserving some licenses that wouldn't be available to AT&T or Verizon. In a filing to the FCC, Verizon called it a "perverse and unjust" rule to subsidize the auctions of two companies with "well-financed corporate parents" (Sprint is mostly owned by Japanese giant SoftBank and T-Mobile US is a division of German conglomerate Deutsche Telekom). AT&T raised identical objections.

T-Mobile US has countered Verizon's objections by saying that the FCC is doing exactly what must be done to prevent the US from letting the duopoly of AT&T and Verizon grow any larger. In its own filing with the FCC, T-Mobile contends:

"When demand exceeds supply, prices increase. Preserving--and indeed expanding--the occasions when Verizon and AT&T must bid against one another for broadband spectrum, rather than contorting the rules to allow the two dominant carriers to divide the available resources evenly between them, may represent the single most meaningful thing the Commission can do to improve auction revenue, increase payments to broadcasters, and expand the amount of spectrum available for new wireless broadband services."

via: Fierce Wireless

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Andrew Kameka
Andrew is based in Miami, Florida.

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