How to blow up a spectrum auction…
AT&T and Verizon are big winners in the record-breaking wireless auction, but it’s Dish Network that walks away with an unexpectedly large swath of spectrum. What will it do with it?
Summary:Dish Network has signaled to the FCC that it wants to go after even more spectrum. It will participate in two upcoming auctions to get more airwaves, including the controversial incentive auction.
Verizon Wireless is making good on its promise to the FCC to return its extraneous 700 MHz to the market, and the principle buyer turns out to be the country’s other mega-carrier, AT&T. Verizon will give AT&T 39 lower-700 MHz licenses in some of the country’s biggest cities in exchange for $1.9 billion in cash and four licenses in an alternate 4G band.
A huge amount of spectrum is set to change hands as the result of several transactions announced today involving Verizon Wireless, AT&T and a relatively unfamiliar name in the wireless industry – Grain Management, a Sarasota, Fla.-based private equity firm.
Globalstar Inc., a small satellite communications company, has filed to use its airwave licenses to provide mobile broadband services, a move that could eventually make the wireless spectrum more valuable.
The Covington, La., company filed a two-prong plan with the Federal Communications Commission to use the spectrum, something that would require a partnership with a larger wireless data provider or telecom company. As smartphones and data consumption have exploded, expanded access to airwaves has become important to wireless carriers and has become a stated priority of regulators.
Globalstar Chief Executive Jay Monroe said the company has had preliminary discussions with the FCC and is confident in its plan.
AT&T is close to securing a major victory in its battle against the spectrum crunch. While it’s not quite a done deal, FCC chairman Genachowski has submitted a proposed order to FCC commissioners that would authorize AT&T’s deployment of its LTE service within a 20MHz portion of the 2.3GHz WCS band. The deal is unique in that the spectrum is currently reserved for satellite radio, and the reallocation would mark the first of its kind within the WCS band. As you may recall, AT&T previously conceded to a 5MHz dead zone on both ends of Sirius XM’s operating frequency in order to mitigate interference concerns, and it seems the move was sufficient to gain the chairman’s support.