In just how many markets do AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless exceed 95 megahertz of spectrum? Since spending a collective $16 billion in the recent 700 MHz auction, analysts have believed the two now hold more than 95 megahertz of airwaves in several markets. The FCC is looking at at whether it should request winning bidders to dispose of some of that excess spectrum.
But according to a report in RCR Wireless News, concerns may have been overstated over the number of markets where the two operators exceed 95 megahertz. Based on the publication's interviews and research from investment firms, AT&T and Verizon do not appear to have exceeded the FCC's 95 megahertz spectrum screens in as many markets as have been suggested by Congress. However, it appears the two exceed the 95-megahertz threshold in more than a dozen large and small markets. The FCC uses a 95-megahertz screen to scrutinize spectrum holdings and mergers. The screen was applied at a higher level in the FCC's approval of AT&T Mobility's purchase of Dobson Communications last year.
According to analysis from Alan Weissberger with DCT Advisors, AT&T or Verizon exceeds the 95 megahertz threshold in eight of the top 10 U.S. markets, 17 of the top 25 markets and 38 of the top 100 markets. See his chart of these markets here. In the Dallas-Fort Worth market, for instance, AT&T now holds 124 megahertz of spectrum.
For more about the vast spectrum holdings of Verizon and AT&T:
- read this article from RCR Wireless News
Could the 700 MHz auction trigger spectrum caps? Editorial on 700 MHz auction
Leap's testimony on the 700 MHz auction