FirstNet: Partnering is way for wireless providers to gain valuable spectrum assets

FirstNet officials told industry representatives at its second Industry Day last week that partnering with FirstNet is a way for wireless service providers to gain access to valuable spectrum assets in less time and with less upfront costs than traditional methods, such as bidding in FCC auctions, according to IWCE's Urgent Communications.

FirstNet CEO Mike Poth described the FirstNet initiative as "a great opportunity" for potential bidders, or offerers, to "not only to be on the cutting edge and make a difference in public safety communications, but also, the reality is that this is a great business deal," according to the publication. FirstNet President TJ Kennedy also acknowledged that offerers have other options to gain access to spectrum – the FCC is scheduled to conduct its 600 MHz incentive auction next year -- but some unique characteristics of the FirstNet initiative may make the most business sense to wireless players.

In particular, the FirstNet spectrum should be cleared of its few incumbents by the time the FirstNet award is made, so it can be used "from day one," Kennedy said. That's in contrast to spending billions of dollars to win nationwide spectrum at an FCC auction and waiting years for incumbent users to vacate the airwaves for use, he said. Article