T-Mobile Urges FCC to Block Verizon from Getting More AWS Spectrum

April 24, 2012, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

It looks like T-Mobile is trying to block Verizon in someway from acquiring more AWS spectrum from cable operators Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks and Cox Communications for $3.9 billion.

We hear  T-Mobile’s CEO Philipp Humm and major officials have met with FCC top official Rick Kaplan last week to argue that Verizon should be blocked from buying additional AWS spectrum from cable operators.

The carrier’s argument points to the past of the Big Red network when they did not use the AWS spectrum despite holding licenses for a huge chunk of it. So the spectrum they are gong to acquire will just add to the Verizon’s unused spectrum inventory, especially at a time when the whole industry is facing a spectrum crunch, says Humm.

T-Mobile also argues that Verizon’s move to auction the 700 MHz A and B Block of the same spectrum is just a move to distract criticism on its purchasing move, but wont actually help decrease the negative impact on competitors who are working on AWS spectrum.

According to T-Mobile, who is on their way to roll out an LTE network in AWS spectrum, the 700 MHz A and B Block which Verizon is selling is more prone to interference from high powered broadcasters who are working on adjacent spectrum segments.

Moreover, absence of a national footprint and reduced interoperability with the rest of the 700 MHz band makes the spectrum being auctioned, less helpful for small competitors.

The network also argues that handling more AWS spectrum to Verizon will negatively affect the competitors who are planning to roll out their future networks in AWS spectrum.

Currently, T-Mobile is the only network in the US that relies on AWS spectrum, so their concern over Verizon’s move is obvious. FCC is yet to make a comment on the issue. 

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