Verizon Wireless is planning to conduct an open sale of all of its 700 MHz A and B spectrum licenses in an effort to rationalize its spectrum holdings. The carrier obtained the 700 MHz A and B licenses — as well as a nationwide 700 MHz upper C license, which is currently used for its 4G LTE service — in an auction through the Federal Communication Commission. Verizon is in the midst of acquiring additional Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum licenses that it plans to use in conjunction with its 700 MHz upper C spectrum to deploy additional LTE markets, and this proposed 700MHz A and B sale will only be conducted if Verizon’s AWS acquisition is successful. The spectrum licenses cover dozens of major markets such as New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, Dallas, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Verizon’s press release follows below.
Following the FCC’s approval last week, AT&T announced Tuesday that it has finalized its acquisition of Qualcomm’s 700MHz spectrum licenses. The spectrum, which was previously used for Qualcomm’s FLO TV product, covers more than 300 million United States residents. AT&T said it paid Qualcomm approximately $1.9 billion in the deal. “This spectrum will help AT&T continue to deliver a world-class mobile broadband experience to our customers,” said AT&T SVP-Federal Regulatory Bob Quinn explained recently. AT&T’s full press release follows after the break. More →
The Federal Communications Commission announced on Monday that it will review AT&T’s planned $1.925 billion acquisition of Qualcomm’s FLO TV lower 700MHz frequency band at the same time that it reviews the carrier’s T-Mobile USA merger. AT&T announced its intentions to buy spectrum from Qualcomm in December of last year and said it planned to deploy the spectrum as “supplemental downlink” while it built out its 4G network. That acquisition was originally expected to close during the second half of this year, but the FCC clearly has some concerns on the matter. AT&T said the FCC and Department of Justice are on schedule to approve the T-Mobile deal in March 2012, however this could be a ding to AT&T’s 4G network plans if it was relying on having the Qualcomm deal approved by now. The FCC’s statement follows below. More →
If you’re looking forward to the possibility of flip-flopping your smartphone’s SIM card between a Verizon Wireless 4G phone and an AT&T 4G phone, we have some bad news for you. Verizon Wireless spokeswoman Brenda Raney confirmed to PCMag on Friday that the carrier’s 4G LTE phones will not be compatible with AT&T’s 4G LTE network because the phones “run on different frequencies.” PCMag explained that while the two carriers operate within the 700MHz frequency band, AT&T will operate mostly within the 704-746MHz bands while Verizon’s 4G LTE will utilize the 746-787MHz frequencies. Additionally, Verizon still routes its voice calls over its 2G/3G CDMA network while AT&T uses GSM/HSPA. That means, until both networks are fully utilizing voice-over-LTE, it just won’t work. Sascha Segan, the article’s author, notes that it is possible for phone vendors to create devices that operate with the frequencies used by both AT&T and Verizon Wireless, but it would likely require the carriers to ink out some sort of agreement first. More →
The FCC today announced that it will hold an auction on July 19, 2011 for sixteen licenses in the 700MHz spectrum. The government agency has two licenses that operate in the 698-704MHz and 728-734MHz frequencies (Block A) along with fourteen licenses that operate in the 704-710MHz and 734-740MHz frequencies (Block B); all sixteen licenses have a 2 x 6MHz pairing and 12MHz of bandwidth. The 700MHz spectrum is currently what wireless providers AT&T and Verizon Wireless are using to build out their 4G, LTE networks in the United States. The proceeding has been designated with the name “Auction 92.”
The fourth largest carrier in the US (behind AT&T, Verizon and Sprint) is in the midst of putting up a big fight against the FCC. T-Mobile, along with the support of AT&T and CTIA, contends that the AWS-3 spectrum the FCC is auctioning off will interfere with the AWS-1 spectrum that T-Mobile uses. If startup M2Z networks wins the auction, it plans to use the space to make mobile WiMax nationally available – and free. The FCC asserts that the technology available will override any possible interference between the two spectra and thinks the auction should go on as planned. Kathleen Ham, T-Mobile’s VP of regulatory affairs responded to the decision to proceed with the auction by saying, “We’re disappointed with those results obviously. The commission takes all this time and effort and lo and behold, they come up with the exact same results they came up with in May.” Ham went on to say, “Obviously the chairman made up his mind but there are four other commissioners.” Burn! Ham certainly sounds a little upset, however M2Z claims that Ham, along with everyone else trying to prevent the AWS-3 auction, is just trying to block them from providing a free service. Of course Ham adds that T-Mobile is too busy competing with the big boys, making the effective blockage of M2Z of little or no importance. All they’re concerned about is the AWS interference. T-Mobile says that using a technique called “asymmetrical pairing” would avoid any AWS-3 interference but M2Z has yet to acknowledge or comment on that. We find that to be a little odd and may put M2Z’s intentions into question. It would seem as though T-Mobile is totally cool with whatever M2Z wants to do so long as they take measures against interfering with T-Mobile’s line of business. We’ll wait for the auction to see what comes of it.