Next year, the FCC will hold it’s last big auction for spectrum, for quite a while. Many analysts are saying this will be the last bit of low-band spectrum auctioned off for the next decade. Which is going to make this a very, very important auction for T-Mobile. Seeing as they have very little low-band spectrum (for those unaware, low-band spectrum is important for penetrating walls as well as covering more area with less towers), with only just acquiring 700MHz spectrum from Verizon in the past few years and they are now rolling it out in markets where they have licenses.
T-Mobile has made a lot of noise regarding this auction. They have been afraid that the two bigger carriers, AT&T and Verizon, could squeeze them out. Especially considering they have much larger checking accounts compared to T-Mobile. But now, there’s word that many of the smaller or regional carriers might be opting out of this auction. And in fact, Sprint has already opted out and said they won’t be participating. This is good news for T-Mobile, less carriers to compete against for these licenses.
The rules that the FCC made for this spectrum auction greatly benefit T-Mobile, especially with these smaller carriers opting out of the auction. As Verizon and AT&T are unable to bid on the reserve spectrum in areas where they already have a significant amount of spectrum, allowing T-Mobile to bid a bit more aggressively in urban and suburban areas. As most of you are aware, T-Mobile’s service is great in bigger cities, but it lacks when you get into the suburbs and even into the country side. T-Mobile is hoping to grab plenty of 600MHz spectrum and pair it with their 700MHz and 1900MHz spectrum for LTE, which will not only provide some great coverage, but some pretty spectacular speeds. We are already seeing speeds of over 100Mbps from T-Mobile in some areas.
This auction is a huge deal for T-Mobile. While they have been adding millions of customers each quarter, there’s only so much they can do with their current spectrum and coverage. Vastly expanding their coverage with 600MHz spectrum will help them compete even tougher with AT&T and Verizon, who have the best coverage in the country, currently.