Mobile Grabbed 45% of the Auctioned 600MHz Spectrum

15 April 2017, 11:48 | Santos Harmon

Verizon and Sprint did not acquire any new spectrum.

Of course, the comparison to Verizon is not particularly fair, since Big Red has almost twice the mobile customers as T-Mobile, but the facts are true: T-Mobile is finally in a position to get rid of its gimmicks and hacky promotions and start beating AT&T and Verizon in tangible ways: in speed, in coverage, and in reliability.

"With this purchase, T-Mobile now has significantly more low-band spectrum per customer than any other major provider and almost triple the low-band spectrum per customer than Verizon", T-Mobile said.

In addition, current smartphone models do not support 600 MHz, though Qualcomm, the world's biggest supplier of modems for smartphones, is preparing new chips to support the frequency. The auction results news comes just a week or so after Comcast announced wireless service based on a "Wi-Fi first" approach that will fall back on the Verizon network when Wi-Fi isn't available.

In the Reverse Incentive Auction, NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations relinquished spectrum in three of its duopoly markets - New York (NBC - WNBC), Philadelphia (Telemundo - WWSI), and Chicago (Telemundo - WSNS) - and received total proceeds of $481.6 million. That acquisition quadruples T-Mobile's low-band holdings nationwide, he said.

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Comcast spent about half as much as analysts expected, while Dish surprised them by bidding $6.2 billion - almost double initial expectations, said Jonathan Chaplin, an analyst at New Street Research. All told, 50 winning bidders spent $19.8 billion on mobile broadband spectrum.

Moffett Nathanson researchers also were surprised that Comcast, bidding as CC Wireless, won only $1.7 billion in spectrum - all within its own cable/broadband landline footprint.

"T-Mobile now has the largest swath of unused low-band spectrum in the country", said Legere in a video blog on the auction. If you want to know whether T-Mobile bought up spectrum in your region, or how much, T-Mobile has made a map to show you. It can also improve T-Mobile's single reach inside buildings as well. And US Cellular picked up 188 licenses for $328 million, though they're likely to be located in rural areas, thus the lower cost. Already Ericsson and Nokia have announced availability of 600 MHz equipment that T-Mobile will use in its network, and the Un-carrier has 600 MHz licenses covering over one million square miles where T-Mobile expects at least 10 MHz to be clear this year - meaning T-Mobile's network team can start working to light it up for customers.

Comcast was the third biggest spender in the auction, though it came in at a distant third. With this purchase, T-Mobile now has significantly more low-band spectrum per customer than any other major provider and almost TRIPLE the low-band spectrum per customer than Verizon. "The faster the repacking process takes place, clearing this fresh spectrum to be put into service, the sooner we see the true benefits of this historic auction".



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