T-Mobile pressures FCC to reconsider free wireless Internet plan

T-Mobile USA sent one of its top executives to Washington, D.C. to plead with the FCC to reconsider its controversial plan to auction a nationwide block of spectrum that would require a licensee to offer free broadband services. On Thursday, T-Mobile's CTO flew to D.C. to meet with the FCC on its proposal. "We're asking the FCC essentially to slow down and give the industry some time to do some testing," said T-Mobile Chief Technology and Innovation Officer Cole Brodman.

T-Mobile argues that Internet activity on the AWS-3 band would interfere with its own wireless services. The company paid nearly $4.2 billion in the AWS spectrum auction and it plans to use this spectrum to roll out UMTS in 26 markets by year-end.

The commission is proposing to combine the 2155 to 2175 MHz band with the 2175 MHz to 2180 MHz band to create a 25-megahertz swathe of spectrum that would support a nationwide license. The spectrum is referred to as advanced wireless services-3 and would require the licensee to dedicate 25 percent of its network capacity to free broadband service, install a network-based Internet filtering system to block pornography and allow open access to third-party devices and applications.

A delay on the proposal for the AWS-3 spectrum auction is likely. Last week FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said that the sale of this spectrum could be put off until early next year. This is bad news for M2Z Networks, which originally proposed the plan. The company is anxious to move ahead with the auction since it is currently subsisting on venture capital.

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