Leap: VZW, AT&T maybe shouldn't bid on D Block

Leap Wireless' SVP and general counsel Robert Irving testified today before the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet about Leap's take on the outcome of the 700 MHz auction.

"We have been concerned in recent years with the ever-increasing consolidation of spectrum assets and market share into the hands of the nation's largest wireless carriers, and the consequences that this portends for Leap and other small and mid-sized carriers," Irving said, according to his prepared remarks. 

Irving outlined a few lessons learned from the 700 MHz auction:

  • One disturbing trend in wireless: Two of the largest carriers increased their vast spectrum holdings thanks to the auction. Verizon Wireless and AT&T contributed $16.3 billion of the total $19.6 billion raised during the auction.
  • Meanwhile, Leap and Alltel won no licenses, while MetroPCS won one license.
  • The auction provided limited bidding opportunities for small and mid-sized carriers and little headway was made in bringing new entrants into the industry.
  • The creation of large geographic areas in the C Block made it difficult for smaller and mid-sized carriers to compete.
  • The complex public/private partnership framework for the D Block, especially the extremely stringent geographic build out requirements, made the spectrum slice highly unattractive.
  • The FCC should examine whether breaking the D Block into smaller segments makes better sense and whether AT&T or Verizon Wireless should be allowed to bid on it given the large swaths of 700 MHz spectrum those carriers already have.

For more on Irving's remarks:
- take a look at the entire testimony