Mobile buys spectrum for $8 bn; Verizon, Sprint didn't bid

15 April, 2017, 11:58 | Author: Kristopher Anderson

U.S. Cellular said in a securities filing in February it had "submitted bids for a minimum amount of $327 million" in the auction.

Of course, the comparison to Verizon is not particularly fair, since Big Red has almost twice the mobile customers as T-Mobile, but the facts are true: T-Mobile is finally in a position to get rid of its gimmicks and hacky promotions and start beating AT&T and Verizon in tangible ways: in speed, in coverage, and in reliability. That enabled the company to walk away with new spectrum in virtually every US market, said company chief executive John Legere in a tweet. Equipment from Nokia and Ericsson is already available on the tower side, and Qualcomm is finalizing its baseband chips to support the new band plan. And Comcast has made no secret of its plans to leverage its own spectrum as it couples its hotspot network with Verizon's cellular infrastructure to enter the wireless market.

The spectrum that was being auctioned came from television station broadcast frequencies.

T-Mobile said it walked away with 31 MHz of spectrum - 45 percent of the total - that's spread across the United States and Puerto Rico, quadrupling its low-band holdings.

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Not far behind it, according to analysts at Moffett Nathanson, was Dish Network, which won a surprising $6.2 billion in spectrum.

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Set in motion five years ago as part of the federal Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, the FCC auction was aimed at reallocating spectrum to better serve today's wireless communications demands.

Dish and Comcast, two companies you don't normally associate with cell phones, were the two other big spenders in this auction. T-Mo CTO Neville Ray has said that T-Mobile will begin deploying its new spectrum this year in both new and existing markets, but Ray didn't say which markets those will be.

The new spectrum represents T-Mobile's biggest investment in its history.

About $7.3 billion of the money raised by the auction goes to offset the federal deficit.

"T-Mobile now has the largest swath of unused low-band spectrum in the country". "The benefits to broadband users and the economy flow not just from spectrum being transferred, but its actual use-equipment must be built out and turned on". Comcast also moved into positive territory, up as much as 0.3 percent. By contrast, AT&T spent $910 million, and Verizon and Sprint sat this one out. We congratulate all bidders who were successful in the incentive auction, and we applaud all of those past and present Commission staffers who worked so diligently on every aspect of this complex undertaking.

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