AT&T is on the hunt for more 700 MHz spectrum to fill coverage gaps in its footprint, a reminder that even though the carrier claims to have largely finished its LTE buildout it still plans to purchase additional spectrum to add coverage and capacity to its network.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said the commission's decision over whether or not to grant a $3.3 billion discount related to the AWS-3 auction to two "designated entities" affiliated with Dish Network will not derail the upcoming incentive auction of 600 MHz broadcast TV airwaves that is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2016.
The push toward 5G is an ideal opportunity to reconsider the role of fixed networks, and how they should also be reengineered and operated in conjunction with the mobile networks. There is no reason why compelling network-architecture concepts and technologies including network-slicing, cloud, Network Functions Virtualization and Software-Defined Networking should be bounded by the pre-existing demarcation between fixed and mobile networks.
Now that LightSquared has emerged from bankruptcy protection, it is lobbying hard to get access to spectrum to launch a wireless network. Specifically, the company is relying on big-name executives in the wireless industry to push its case directly to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.
A little more than half of Sprint's rural LTE roaming partners have launched LTE service, according to a Sprint spokeswoman, though it is unclear exactly which ones have done so.
Carrier aggregation will pick up as the speed war, fueled by the never ending RootMetrics reports and the subsequent carrier press releases and earnings call citations. AT&T and Verizon's network transformations are "skating to where the puck will be" in an effort to become more agile and drive down costs. So far smaller Sprint and T-Mobile haven't seen this need. There's no doubt that more changes will come about this year.
Sprint is interested in participating in next year's planned incentive auction of 600 MHz broadcast TV spectrum but does not feel absolutely compelled to take part, according to CFO Joe Euteneuer. That's because of the improvements Sprint is seeing by deploying its 800 MHz and 2.5 GHz spectrum for LTE and the addition of Wi-Fi calling.
T-Mobile US has leased its spectrum to other carriers in an effort to expand its LTE network. However, it's unclear how extensive those efforts have been or how T-Mobile's work with other carriers compares to similar programs from Verizon Wireless and Sprint.
The battle lines are being drawn over changes to the FCC's bidding rules ahead of next year's incentive auction of 600 MHz broadcast TV spectrum. AT&T and T-Mobile US want the commission to place restrictions on its designated entity (DE) rules to guard against what they argue was Dish Network's unfair manipulation of the rules during the recent AWS-3 spectrum auction.
T-Mobile US now covers 280 million POPs with LTE, according to CTO Neville Ray. The carrier had pledged to reach that coverage goal by the middle of this year, and thus appears to have reached that goal earlier than expected.