At the heart of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) newest challenge is finding ways to optimize the use of wireless spectrum in ways not possible with today's approaches – and the challenge is now officially on.
Investor Chamath Palihapitiya made waves earlier this month when he said a company he and other investors are backing plans to bid much as $4 billion to $10 billion in next year's incentive auction of 600 MHz broadcast TV spectrum. However according to analysts at investment research firm Evercore ISI, the company, called Rama, is unlikely to become a major player in the U.S. market.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) launched a new online portal that lets carriers and federal agencies coordinate spectrum use in the 1695-1710 MHz band, one of three bands recently made available in the AWS-3 spectrum auction. The new NTIA portal fulfills an important requirement to enable sharing in the 1695-1710 MHz portion of the band.
AT&T plans to participate in next year's incentive auction of 600 MHz broadcast TV spectrum and would like to win a 2x10 MHz block of spectrum nationwide, but it is not willing to commit to how much it will bid, according to a senior AT&T executive.
Investor Chamath Palihapitiya is backing a company called Rama that intends to bid as much as $4 billion to $10 billion in next year's incentive auction of 600 MHz broadcast TV spectrum in the hopes of winning enough airwaves to start a new carrier to shake up the U.S. wireless industry.
Dish Network CEO Charlie Ergen said that wireless carriers would "strategically commit malpractice" if they did not take a look at Dish's vast spectrum trove and try to do something with it. However, Ergen also indicated that Dish likely will not strike any kind of deal related to its airwaves before the start of next year's incentive auction of 600 MHz broadcast TV spectrum, in which Dish might take part.
Verizon Wireless does not feel a need to strike a deal with Dish Network, to get access to its mid-band wireless spectrum, according to a senior Verizon executive. The comments from Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo at an investor conference could cool speculation that a deal for Verizon to lease Dish's airwaves is imminent.
Next year's incentive auction of 600 MHz broadcast TV spectrum might attract bids from companies that are not wireless carriers, including Comcast, Charter Communications, Dish Network and Google, financial and industry analysts said. However, the analysts also said that even if these wild card players do win spectrum, they likely will not be looking to build out wireless networks of their own.
With Sprint choosing to sit out the 600 MHz incentive auction, it has been widely assumed that T-Mobile and other competitive carriers will be able to bid for the "set aside" airwaves-- up to 30 MHz in a given market-- without having to worry about AT&T and Verizon Wireless. However, that likely won't be the case, and in many rural markets AT&T and Verizon will be able to fully bid on reserve spectrum and put pressure on smaller carriers during the auction, and potentially after it as well.
Buried within the mammoth budget deal that the White House and the Republican-led House have agreed to are provisions that would require the FCC and Department of Commerce to identify 30 MHz of government-held spectrum to be auctioned for commercial wireless use.