The FCC on Thursday will decide rules for next year's incentive auction of 600 MHz broadcast TV spectrum. It will also decide rules for how much spectrum wireless carriers can hold in different markets--the FCC's so-called spectrum screen. The event will be the most consequential meeting of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's term so far, and it will have a fundamental impact on the direction of the U.S. wireless industry. Right now, it looks like Wheeler is trying to placate different factions within the industry, but he could wind up with most carriers being peeved at the final results.
T-Mobile US parent Deutsche Telekom wants at least a $1 billion breakup fee in the event that regulators block a merger between Sprint and T-Mobile, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
The total LTE baseband market will expand by 47 percent to reach 338 million units this year, according to a new report from Forward Concepts. The firm said the LTE baseband market totaled 291 million units in 2013, up from 103 million in 2012.
Dish Network and Sprint wholesale partner nTelos Wireless are close to launching a trial network for fixed wireless TD-LTE service. The companies hope to add commercial users to the network in July, later than they initially expected when the plans for the trials were first unveiled last fall.
Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen reiterated his decision not to get into a bidding war with Sprint over T-Mobile US, but indicated that he would be ready to move if Sprint tried to make a bid for T-Mobile and failed.
Deutsche Telekom CEO Timotheus Hoettges held the door open to a possible combination between Sprint and its T-Mobile US unit, but said that U.S. regulators have clearly signaled their skepticism of such a deal.
Sprint's pledge of unlimited data is looking increasingly less sustainable, as the carrier maneuvers to rein in network traffic generated by its heaviest data users and ensure quality of service for the majority of its customers.
Competitive Carriers Association President Steve Berry said he is confident that next year's incentive auction of 600 MHz broadcast spectrum will draw wide participation from smaller carriers and that the auction will be successful.
Sprint MVNO FreedomPop is considering a partnership with either AT&T Mobility and T-Mobile US, though the company has no firm timeline yet for striking a deal.
Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said that, without a stronger No. 3 U.S. wireless carrier, Verizon Wireless and AT&T Mobility will continue to gobble up the lion's share of profit in the industry. However, he said that in any hypothetical merger between Sprint and No. 4 player T-Mobile US, Sprint would have to work hard to convince regulators to approve it.