FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski on Thursday detailed plans to offer additional wireless spectrum to mobile carriers. The agency is on track to free up 300MHz of new spectrum that will be available for commercial use by 2015, IT World reports. Mobile carriers have been in dire need for additional spectrum, some have even turned to massive acquisitions and mergers in an effort to build-out their respective networks. Genachowski revealed that the FCC will auction several blocks in the AWS band essential for LTE networks to wireless carriers in 2015. The wireless trade association CTIA is not satisfied, however, and is seeking additional spectrum from the 800MHz band by 2015. More →
While it likely won’t quench the wireless carriers’ thirst for more spectrum anytime soon, the Federal Communications Commission on Friday took an important step toward opening up more airwaves for mobile data use by voting 5-0 to approve a new spectrum auction process that will reward television broadcasters for voluntarily relinquishing unused spectrum. The New York Times reports that “a portion of the proceeds” from the auctions will go to broadcasters that relinquish their spectrum licenses and notes that the government estimates the incentive auctions “could generate $15 billion” in total revenues. Any auction of relinquished broadcaster spectrum will likely not take place until 2014 at the earliest. More →
Verizon and T-Mobile have agreed to swap some critical LTE spectrum licenses on the AWS band, although the deal’s completion depends on Verizon acquiring several spectrum licenses from major cable companies. Under the agreement, Verizon and T-Mobile will swap licenses on the AWS band that spans from 1710MHz to 1755MHz for uplink and 2110MHz to 2155MHz for downlink to patch up weak spots in their LTE spectrum portfolios. For its part, T-Mobile says it “will gain spectrum covering 60 million people — notably in Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; Detroit; Minneapolis; Seattle; Cleveland; Columbus, Ohio; Milwaukee; Charlotte, N.C.; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Greensboro, N.C.; Memphis, Tenn.; and Rochester, N.Y.” while Verizon will get spectrum licenses that cover roughly 22 million people. One potentially awkward aspect of the deal, however, is that T-Mobile has been very aggressive in opposing Verizon’s attempts to acquire AWS spectrum licenses from major cable companies such as Comcast and Cox for around $3.9 billion. It will be interesting to see whether T-Mobile suddenly changes its tune on the proposed spectrum deal now that it’s depending on it for its own spectrum needs. Hit the jump for Verizon’s full press release. More →
Following AT&T’s failed attempt to acquire T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom for $39 billion, AT&T had to pay a lofty break-up fee as per the terms of its agreement. AT&T’s related expenses totaled $4 billion, and included in that sum was the transfer of AWS spectrum licenses to T-Mobile in 128 different markets. On Wednesday, T-Mobile announced that the Federal Communications Commission has approved the transfer. “We applaud the FCC for acting swiftly to approve the transfer of these spectrum licenses,” T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray said in a statement. The nation’s No.4 carrier will use its newly acquired spectrum to help build out its next-generation 4G LTE network, which it hopes to launch next year.
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.
T-Mobile is urging federal regulators to block Verizon’s planned spectrum acquisition from SpectrumCo, a joint venture formed by Comcast, Time Warner and Bright House Networks. Verizon’s pending purchase could be worth $3.9 billion and would help the company build out its nationwide LTE network. In a filing late Tuesday, T-Mobile said the Federal Communications Commission should block the deal because it would place an “excessive concentration” of wireless spectrum in Verizon’s hands, reports the Associated Press. The AWS bands that Verizon is looking to acquire uses the same frequencies that T-Mobile uses for its HSPA+ network. T-Mobile claims that the nation’s No.1 carrier already has a large amount of spectrum and does not need any more, and T-Mobile can “quickly, more intensively, and more efficiently” put the spectrum to use compared to Verizon. MetroPCS, the nation’s fifth-largest wireless provider, also urged the FCC to block the deal, claiming both parties had not provided enough information to prove that the acquisition is in the public’s best interest. Verizon and SpectrumCo hope to close the deal by the middle of this year. More →
T-Mobile and AT&T have filed with the Federal Communications Commission to transfer $1 billion worth of AT&T’s AWS spectrum into T-Mobile USA’s ownership. AT&T previously promised the spectrum to Deutsche Telekom in the event that its bid to acquire T-Mobile USA failed. “This additional spectrum will help meet the growing demand for wireless broadband services,” Tom Sugrue, T-Mobile’s senior vice president for government affairs, told The Wall Street Journal. “We hope the FCC will move swiftly to approve the license assignments.” As The Wall Street Journal points out, T-Mobile desperately needs the spectrum in order to compete with Sprint, AT&T and Verizon Wireless. Each of those aforementioned carriers have already started to, or already have plans to, roll out faster 4G LTE networks this year. T-Mobile has not discussed any firm plans regarding how it will advance beyond its current HSPA+ network. More →
The BlackBerry Curve 9370 and the LG Spectrum are now available from Verizon Wireless. The LG Spectrum was unveiled during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week. It runs Android Gingerbread, has a sharp 4.5-inch True HD IPS display, a dual-core 1.5GHz processor, an 8-megapixel camera capable of recording 1080p video and support for Verizon’s 4G LTE network. The Spectrum is priced at $199.99 with a new two-year Verizon contract. Also joining Verizon’s smartphone lineup on Thursday is RIM’s BlackBerry Curve 9370. The Curve 9370 is the slimmest Curve ever and offers GPS and Wi-Fi support, a 5-megapixel cameras and runs RIM’s BlackBerry 7 operating system. The new Curve is priced at $99.99 with a new two-year contract after a $50 mail-in rebate.
Two of Verizon’s newly announced 4G LTE smartphones have unannounced global roaming capabilities, however they will not be usuable at launch. The Motorola DROID 4 and LG Spectrum, which were both announced this week at the Consumer Electronics Show, both contain GSM and CDMA radios for data usage overseas. However, due to upcoming network enhancements, both devices will soon be able to take advantage of their global capabilities. “The LTE phones work globally in over 40 countries that currently use CDMA technology,” said Verizon spokeswoman Brenda Raney. “For the new LTE phones to provide global roaming voice and data in non-CDMA countries, we are working on a few network enhancements so we can provide customers with the best voice and data roaming experience. We anticipate this capability to be available this year, likely the first half of the year.” More →
LG’s press conference in Las Vegas just wrapped up and we quickly stormed the stage to grab you a few photos of Verizon’s latest smartphone, the LG Spectrum. The Spectrum runs Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) but Verizon promises that it will upgrade the device to Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) in the future. It offers a 4.5-inch true HD IPS display — it looks amazing up close — an 8-megapixel camera capable of recording 1080p HD video and a 1.5GHz dual-core processor. It also supports Verizon’s blazing fast 4G LTE network. LG wouldn’t let us hold the device in our hands, but we were able to get a good look at its relatively thin design and super sharp screen. It will be available on January 19th for $199.99 with a new two-year contract. Hit our gallery for photos of the LG Spectrum.
Last summer, LG and Verizon Wireless released the Revolution, but the phone did little to revolutionize smartphones and after seven months it was chopped from the carrier’s lineup. According to Droid-Life, the follow-up to the Revolution is the LG Spectrum and it is heading to Verizon on January 19th. The Spectrum features superb specs with a 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S3 processor, 1GB RAM, 4G LTE connectivity and a massive 4.5-inch HD display at 329ppi. Additionally, the device sports an 8-megapixel rear camera, a microSD slot, a 1.3-megapixel front facing camera and a 1,830 mAh battery. The Spectrum will launch with an exclusive HD ESPN ScoreCenter app and the HD Netflix app that is currently only found on the DROID RAZR. With the Consumer Electronics Show beginning next week, we fully expect to see the Spectrum unveiled within the next few days. More →
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 →
Now that its bid to acquire T-Mobile USA for $39 billion has been put to bed by strong opposition, AT&T has to look elsewhere in an effort to find spectrum that will accommodate the carrier’s ever-growing subscriber base while it transitions to LTE. The carrier is clearly facing an uphill battle but it took a sizable step forward on Thursday evening when the Federal Communications Commission granted approval to AT&T’s proposed acquisition of 700MHz spectrum licenses from Qualcomm. “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. AT&T will pay Qualcomm approximately $1.9 billion when the deal closes in the next few days, and the licenses AT&T gains cover more than 300 million people in the United States. AT&T’s press release follows below. More →