U.S. wireless carriers along with Dish Network sit on wireless spectrum worth around $368 billion collectively, according to a report from a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs.
The FCC is seeking comment on a range of changes to its bidding rules ahead of next year's incentive auction of 600 MHz broadcast TV spectrum. Some of the proposed changes include rules that would specifically block the kind of bidding strategy that Dish Network employed during the recent AWS-3 spectrum auction.
The FCC voted today to adopt new spectrum sharing tools and policies to make 150 MHz of spectrum available for mobile broadband and other commercial uses. The radio waves sit in the 3.5 GHz band that previously was locked up by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).
Sprint wholesale partner nTelos Wireless closed a deal to sell some of its 1900 MHz PCS spectrum to T-Mobile US for $56 million. The transaction was announced in December as part of nTelos' plan to exit from its Eastern Markets. NTelos wants to focus on markets in western Virginia and West Virginia where it has a stronger retail presence and benefits from a network deal with Sprint.
The FCC will consider what changes it should make to its rules governing designated entities (DEs) that bid in spectrum auctions, ahead of next year's incentive auction of 600 MHz broadcast TV spectrum.
AT&T Mobility continues to urge the FCC not to repack and place TV broadcasters into the 600 MHz band as part of next year's incentive auction. The carrier also said it conducted a study that found varying levels of interference for carriers depending upon how much spectrum broadcasters give up.
The FCC approved the assignment of AWS-3 spectrum licenses to Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile US, along with several smaller bidders. However, the commission has yet to approve licenses won in the AWS-3 auction by two designated entities in which Dish Network has an 85 percent economic stake, Northstar Wireless and SNR Wireless. The FCC has also not yet approved licenses for several other bidders.
Now that it has emerged from bankruptcy protection, LightSquared wants to get back to what it had planned to do before it got mired in restructuring nearly three years ago: use spectrum to provide wireless service to U.S. customers.
Dish Network's spectrum licenses right now could be worth as much--or possibly more--than the spectrum licenses owned by Sprint or T-Mobile US. Dish's spectrum position, bolstered by the incredible increases in Americans' demands for wireless service, makes Charlie Ergen's Dish an incredibly powerful player in the U.S. wireless market. But how exactly will Dish cash in on that position?
Unlike rivals Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile US, AT&T Mobility is not in a rush to trial and deploy LTE-Unlicensed (LTE-U) technology, according to an AT&T executive. AT&T might use LTE-U, but only if it can assure that it will not harm Wi-Fi, according to AT&T's Tom Keathley, who said that the carrier would be willing to wait for a standardized version of the technology known as a Licensed-Assisted Access.