Ahead of 600 MHz auction, AT&T leads in lobbying with $15.9M in 2013

As the FCC works to finalize rules for next year's incentive auctions of 600 MHz broadcast TV spectrum, the lobbyists who work for the Tier 1 wireless carriers are seeing a booming industry. As detailed by Allan Holmes of the Center for Public Integrity, AT&T (NYSE:T) spent $15.9 million for lobbying on a range of issues, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks lobbying spending. AT&T was No. 11 in lobbying spending in 2013, while Verizon (NYSE:VZ) spent $13. 7 million and ranked as No. 18. T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) has increased its lobbying 74 percent in the past three years since its purchase by AT&T was blocked, but still only spent $5.2 million lobbying in 2013, while Sprint (NYSE:S) spent $2.8 million in 2013.

As industry observers know, the big fight between the carriers is over whether and how limits might be placed on AT&T and Verizon in the bidding for the 600 MHz spectrum. AT&T and Verizon have argued against such limits, saying it will depress auction revenue and amount to picking winners and losers, while T-Mobile and Sprint say they are necessary to level the playing field. The result has been a surge in op-eds, economic research and lobbying, all paid for by the carriers to press their cases with the FCC. Article

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