How to decipher the 600 MHz incentive auction

As Verizon (NYSE: VZ), AT&T (NYSE: T) and T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) line up to participate in the 600 MHz incentive the auction, which kicks off March 29, whoever ends up walking away with spectrum from the auction will gain access to low-band airwaves that offer distinct propagation characteristics for deployments over long distances and strong in-building penetration.

First, however, the FCC must hold a reverse auction during which it will buy back spectrum from TV broadcasters that will later be auctioned to bidders looking to use it to deploy wireless services. Only after the reverse auction will the forward auction start, which is where wireless carriers will make their bids. It's all part of an historic process that has not yet been done before – and one where the stakes are higher than ever. For more on what to expect in the process and how it all works, check out this special report by FierceWireless.