Sprint completes BAS spectrum transition, frees additional broadband spectrum

Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) told the FCC that it has finished a $750-million, five-year-long project to move 35 MHz of broadcast auxiliary service (BAS) spectrum nationwide, paving the way for wireless broadband services.

Sprint transitioned 213 markets, with Anchorage, Alaska, being the last. The Reconfiguration Plan, first instituted in 2005 to reconfigure spectrum to avoid interference between public safety and Sprint's iDEN network, included retuning BAS incumbents to a new band plan, thus clearing the 1990-1995 MHz spectrum block for Sprint and the 1995 -2025 MHz block for mobile satellite and future broadband services.

"Sprint's completion of the BAS spectrum transition marks an important step toward President Obama's goal of freeing 500 MHz of additional wireless broadband spectrum," said Michael B. Degitz, VP of spectrum management for Sprint, in a statement.

Sprint said the work was done for approximately 1,000 television broadcasters who provide  free over-the-air television programming in the U.S., Puerto Rico and U.S. territories and possessions. 

Rebanding efforts with public safety continues, however. In a recent filing with the FCC, Sprint said only around 55 percent of all non-border 800 MHz public-safety licensees have finished their physical rebanding work.

Sprint said 505 of the roughly 900 non-border 800 MHz licensees are operating 800 MHz systems on their new frequencies. The carrier said that 826 of them have inked rebanding agreements, and that "most, but not all" of those that have not signed rebanding agreements have submitted cost estimates to Sprint, thereby clearing the way for negotiations.

Sprint also said two-thirds of the licensees on the U.S.-Canada border still need to ink rebanding agreements with Sprint; rebanding only started there last year.

For more:
- see this Sprint release

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