T-Mobile reportedly will pay $420 million for 12 MHz of 700 MHz A Block spectrum in Chicago-- far more than the $250 million to $300 million UBS valued it at-- despite the fact that T-Mobile was the only legitimate prospective bidder for those airwaves. But whether that transaction is a harbinger of bidding in the upcoming incentive auction of 600 MHz airwaves is still anyone's guess.
T-Mobile executives said last week that they believe they'll be able to deploy some of the 600 MHz spectrum they expect to pocket during this year's auction by the end of 2017. And CFO Braxton Carter told investors today that the carrier will also have handsets ready to support those airwaves.
Jefferies analysts took issue with recent claims that Dish Network's spectrum holdings are over-valued, saying the mid-band airwaves are superior for supporting increasing data usage and ramping up capacity.
Some industry analysts have speculated that it may take several years before carriers can begin to deploy services on the 600 MHz airwaves that the FCC will put up for auction in the coming weeks. But T-Mobile executives think they may be able to begin to leverage that spectrum as early as 2017.
Bidding for the FCC's reverse auction of 600 MHz airwaves is slated to start May 31, kicking off what Chairman Tom Wheeler has predicted will be a "spectrum extravaganza." But Wells Fargo Securities analysts are questioning just how valuable carriers view that low-band spectrum.
The FCC published its final list of participants for the upcoming 600 MHz incentive auction of TV broadcasters' unwanted airwaves, showing 99 completed applications. Notably absent from the list is Liberty Spectrum, a subsidiary of Liberty Global.
Dish Network's stock fell slightly yesterday following a report from short-selling investment firm Kerrisdale Capital describing Dish's spectrum holdings as a "warehouse full of overpriced inventory."
Dan Fallon, senior RF engineer at Dielectric, says temporary antennas could be the way to go for broadcasters in order to meet the 39-month time frame allotted for channel repacking after the 600 MHz incentive auction, according to TVNewsCheck.
The incentive auction of prized 600 MHz spectrum still faces some major challenges, but the FCC is clearly off to a good start.
The FCC today announced it will be able to offer a whopping 126 MHz, or 10 paired blocks, of licensed spectrum on a near-nationwide basis in the forward portion of its 600 MHz incentive auction. That's a huge victory for FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, and it potentially creates an opening for a new wireless carrier to launch in the United States.