AT&T Mobility is working with several smaller carriers, likely including T-Mobile US and U.S. Cellular, to prepare for interoperability between their different band classes in the 700 MHz band. In a filing with the FCC, AT&T revealed the progress it has made in following through on a commitment it made in September 2013 to support interoperability between Band Class 17 and Band Class 12 in the 700 MHz band.
T-Mobile US aims to deploy LTE in all of its 700 MHz A Block spectrum this year, according to T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray. However, he cautioned the carrier may not achieve that goal.
T-Mobile US is seeing strong adoption of its Wi-Fi calling feature, according to a T-Mobile executive who said the operator now counts 7 million users of Wi-Fi calling.
All the while when we were trapped in the Title II News Blizzard that made any other topic seem small and irrelevant, the FCC has been conducting an auction of wireless spectrum. This wasn't supposed to be the big auction--that honor was reserved for the incentive auction, in which broadcasters would sell spectrum they hadn't deployed since the digital TV transition consolidated things. This was just an auction for "AWS-3" spectrum, Advanced Wireless Service frequencies in a high band that wasn't expected to pique much carrier interest. The FCC had set a reserve price of $10.6 billion.
T-Mobile is relatively well positioned in the battle for network capacity, according to a recent investor note from analysts at Macquarie Capital. Citing a recent meeting with T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray, the firm wrote that "T-Mo has several years of additional capacity on existing spectrum and current growth rates." The firm also raised its expectations for T-Mobile's fourth quarter performance from 939,000 postpaid net adds to fully 1.2 million postpaid net adds.
T-Mobile US will continue to hunt for 700 MHz A Block spectrum but already has spectrum in that band covering 185 million POPs in 24 of the top 30 U.S. markets, according to CFO Braxton Carter.
T-Mobile US is selling stock in an offering that is likely going to raise $1 billion. The carrier indicated it will use the proceeds for capital expenditures and spectrum purchases beyond what it may acquire in the ongoing AWS-3 auction.
T-Mobile US has been hunting for yet more 700 MHz spectrum to augment its LTE coverage and capacity, with the carrier quietly making several deals for airwaves with small license holders over the past several weeks.
Sprint, T-Mobile US and several public interest and industry organizations want the FCC to more closely scrutinize some of AT&T's recently proposed spectrum deals for low-band airwaves, especially 700 MHz spectrum. Specifically, they want the FCC to employ its recently announced "enhanced factor" review for low-band spectrum acquisitions.
T-Mobile US is likely going to report very strong third-quarter results--and will continue its momentum through the fourth quarter thanks to the launch of Apple's iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, according to financial analysts.