FCC chairman hints spectrum rules will favor smaller carriers

New FCC chairman Tom Wheeler: "Spectrum is finite ...  A key goal of our spectrum-allocation efforts is ensuring that multiple carriers have access to airwaves needed to operate their networks."

Wheeler also made note of an April DOJ filing calling on major upcoming FCC spectrum auctions (due in 2014, at the earliest) to be designed to guarantee smaller carriers get enough low-frequency airwaves (better for rural areas).

The remarks have been praised by Sprint (S -1.8%) and T-Mobile USA (TMUS +1.9%), who have been calling for such rules themselves. Bigger rivals AT&T (T -0.2%) and Verizon (VZ +0.7%), who between them own ~75% of the country's low-frequency mobile spectrum, probably aren't as pleased.

Sprint, which obtained a huge chunk of high-frequency (2.5GHz.) spectrum through the Clearwire deal, claims it would need 13-15 2.5GHz. cell sites to cover as much ground as one 700 MHz. site. T-Mobile is reportedly looking to buy unused 700MHz. spectrum from Verizon.

AT&T is set to acquire high-frequency (1.7-2.1GHz.) spectrum through the Leap Wireless deal, but (no doubt to appease the FCC) plans to have Leap sell 700MHz. spectrum it recently acquired for $204M.

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Comments (5)
  • wallstmind
    , contributor
    Comments (265) | Send Message
    t mobile is moving in right direction. Moreover,the fact that t mobile offers free internet dsta snd .20 cents per minute calls when person is traveling around the world outdide US of A is an excelent business strategy to attract clients who travel for pleasure or business. Fact that T-mobile stoped subsidizing phones is a great business approach to have higher EBITDA .WAY TO GO T-MOBILE.
    3 Dec 2013, 05:07 PM Reply Like
  • Furbonacci
    , contributor
    Comments (364) | Send Message
    3 Dec 2013, 06:18 PM Reply Like
  • Incomeinvestor
    , contributor
    Comments (6) | Send Message
    Don't be fooled by free data. The "free" data is 2G, which is the equivalent of dial-up. For those business travelers used to 3G or 4G in the US it will be a step back.
    3 Dec 2013, 09:59 PM Reply Like
  • wallstmind
    , contributor
    Comments (265) | Send Message
    I am t mobile user.I was traveling abroad in summer. And needed to get in touch with friends. Some airports in europe offer 30 free min of data then you have to pay. I used my 30 min. Theni needed to getin touch wirh people at the end of my destination, gue to plane dealay. I would use 1 G for i needed data. It would have been better than nothing. But i hear you about slow data. I had no idea they offer 2G.
    5 Dec 2013, 09:15 AM Reply Like
  • tmahr2002
    , contributor
    Comments (71) | Send Message
    What do people expect what they give you for free is great try AT&T OR VERIZON with what they charge is criminal!!
    4 Dec 2013, 03:31 PM Reply Like
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