Dish Network said it plans to "meaningfully" participate in next year's planned incentive auction of 600 MHz broadcast TV spectrum. The company could grab yet more airwaves to add to its existing stockpile, though it remains unclear exactly what Dish will do with its spectrum.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler laid out the agency's plans to entice TV broadcasters to participate in next year's incentive auction of 600 MHz spectrum. Specifically, he said the commission starting this summer will meet with broadcasters individually across the country and will provide an estimate of the amount of money broadcasters could receive for voluntarily relinquishing some or all of their spectrum rights in the auction.
According to new maps from Mosaik Solutions, Verizon Wireless could be subject to bidding restrictions across virtually the entire country in the FCC's 600 MHz auction next year. Meanwhile, AT&T Mobility could face restrictions in locations across wide portions of the West and East Coasts, but not in the central part of the country. The maps from Mosaik, provided exclusively to FierceWireless, provide the clearest view yet as to exactly how the FCC's 600 MHz auction rules will affect the nation's two largest wireless carriers.
Now that AT&T's bid to acquire DirecTV is official, and the FCC's rules for the spectrum screen and the 600 MHz auction are finalized, the merger-and-acquisition landscape in the wireless industry is now much, much clearer. Specifically, the proposed merger between Sprint and T-Mobile US appears significantly more daunting, and a Verizon purchase of Dish Network's spectrum appears somewhat more likely.
A top T-Mobile US executive said that the carrier plans to make more "uncarrier" announcements throughout this year and next year in an effort to shake up the industry and maintain its momentum in the market. T-Mobile CFO Braxton Carter also said the operator sees low-band spectrum as "very important" to its future, and is very interested in the FCC's upcoming 600 MHz incentive auction of TV broadcaster spectrum.
AT&T Mobility said it plans to purchase between 20 MHz and 40 MHz of spectrum in the FCC's 600 MHz incentive auction of broadcast TV spectrum, set for next year, if the auction entices enough broadcasters to participate. However, Verizon Wireless said only that the FCC has made "progress" on the rules for the auction, comments likely reflecting the carrier's displeasure with auction rules designed to limit the amount of 600 MHz spectrum AT&T and Verizon can acquire during the auction.
The FCC approved rules for next year's incentive auction of 600 MHz broadcast TV spectrum that will open up bandwidth for unlicensed wireless use. Depending upon the how much spectrum is voluntarily relinquished by broadcasters in a reverse auction and repacked for the forward auction, a total of 14 to 28 MHz of guard band spectrum should be available for unlicensed use in a given area. And FCC official said that, depending on how much spectrum is repurposed in a given market, the agency expects the guard bands to be between 7 MHz and 11 MHz wide.
The lobbying fight is heating up over whether the FCC will approve rules that could limit how much spectrum Verizon Wireless and AT&T can bid for in next year's incentive auction of 600 MHz broadcast spectrum. T-Mobile US has fired the latest salvo, arguing that the FCC has the authority to issue such rules and that they will enhance competition, not lead to the failure of the auction.
Just like Verizon Wireless, AT&T is taking aim at its smaller competitors in its opposition to draft FCC rules that could restrict how much spectrum the two largest carriers can bid for in the commission's upcoming incentive auction of 600 MHz broadcast TV spectrum.
The FCC is reportedly prepared to set aside channel 37 as well as other spectrum located throughout the 600 MHz band for unlicensed wireless broadband use.