Verizon contends Sprint actually has more spectrum than they do in FCC filing

February 7, 2014
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The Sprint/T-Mobile acquisition has a few nuances that make it attractive. According to T-Mobile CEO John Legere, it helps challenge Verizon and AT&T’s ability to acquire spectrum at auction by creating a third carrier big enough to challenge them. Verizon is now saying that if all the spectrum were considered equally, Sprint would be the majority spectrum holder.


Verizon’s contention is that a huge block of 2.5GHz spectrum Sprint got in their Clearwire deal last year (a precursor to the Softbank purchase of Sprint) isn’t counted in the FCC’s ‘spectrum screen’. In an FCC filing, Verizon claims the screen has faults:

It omits 138 MHz of 2.5 GHz Broadband Radio Service and Educational Broadband Service spectrum, most of which is held by Sprint itself. That means that the current screen counts only 452 MHz in total of spectrum suitable and available for commercial mobile services. Omitting Sprint's 2.5 GHz spectrum (as well as Dish's AWS-4 spectrum) makes the screen seriously inaccurate--it counts barely more than 70 percent of the spectrum that should count

Sprint’s argument is that spectrum should be weighed differently. Counting 1GHz spectrum and under the same as that which is above their magic mark is wrong in their eyes, but they can’t explain why they feel that way. Sprint is leveraging their 5,000 LTE sites on the 2.5GHz spectrum with plans to expand to 100 million POP’s for their new Spark service. Verizon in turn takes issue there, saying "As we have stated many time s before, the omission of so much of Sprint's 2.5 GHz spectrum is particularly egregious because Sprint is relying on its 'strong spectrum position' in the 2.5 GHz band to deploy its 4G LTE mobile broadband network".

What we have is an argument without common ground. Sprint and T-Mobile think they need to hold hands and challenge the incumbents for spectrum, but it turns out they just have holdings not being accounted for. Verizon naturally wants all the cards on the table if the argument is spectrum holdings — as it’s been made to be on several occasions. The FCC holds gavel in everything considered here today, so we’ll be interested to see how this shakes out.

VIA: Fierce Wireless


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