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No help from FCC in the upcoming T-Mobile auction

Earlier today, Tom Wheeler, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said that they do not plan on giving T-Mobile the extra that it has been looking for in the upcoming spectrum auction. Small carriers such as T-Mobile, Dish, Sprint and others have been pushing the FCC to set aside more spectrum for them so that they would be safe from the giants such as AT&T and Verizon who can easily outspend all of them.

The matters became serious when the Justice Department sent a letter to the commission suggesting that they should take T-Mobile’s request into heavy consideration. They may have agreed to take it seriously but the commission have still maintained a firm no.

From a bird’s eye view, the situation isn’t a complete loss to T-Mobile even after not getting what they wanted. 30MHz is the spectrum that is set aside for the bidding, while T-Mobile wanted it to be increased to 40MHz.

Though it is a significant increase, 30MHz is still a significant portion of the spectrum that these smaller carriers can bid on and win at lower prices.

Wheeler mentions in a blog post that “The draft order concludes that the current reserve size of 30 megahertz balances the desire to make low-band spectrum available to parties with limited holdings whiles facilitating competitive bidding for all auction participants.”

This auction that is scheduled for the first quarter of next year is very important for carriers because this might be the last chance for them to bid on and win a spectrum that is just this good. It might be decades for the next auction to take place, and carriers like Dish can now get the chance acquire 600MHz spectrum that is good enough to penetrate buildings and travel long distances.