2012-10-15T065010Z_01_TOK307_RTRIDSP_3_SPRINT-SOFTBANK

Sprint’s Not Bidding at 600MHz Auction, but SoftBank Might

March 12, 2016 - Written By Alexander Maxham

The lead up to the upcoming incentive spectrum auction that’s happening later this month has been a pretty interesting one. We’ve seen Sprint drop out, basically stating that they have plenty of spectrum – they actually have more than any other US carrier  – and we’ve also seen Verizon be a bit lukewarm to the auction. However, while Sprint isn’t going to be bidding at the auction, their parent company, SoftBank might just do some bidding. According to a few reports, SoftBank is thinking about establishing a new company which would acquire spectrum at auctions and later sell or swap the airwaves. Obviously, SoftBank could offer up that spectrum to Sprint.

Sprint is 80% owned by Japanese Telecommunications giant SoftBank, so it would make sense for SoftBank to acquire some spectrum in the US and then offer it up to Sprint. Sprint’s current spectrum assets are valued at around $115 billion. The company has also said that they are looking to mortgage some of their spectrum and network hardware to SoftBank in return for some cash. Considering a number of their debtors are wanting their money this year, Sprint has to do something, or they could risk going bankrupt. Something that SoftBank owner Masayoshi Son does not want to happen. Sprint has already lost him a fortune since buying the company nearly 3 years ago.

The incentive auction is set to take place on March 29th. You can best believe that T-Mobile will be there and be spending some big bucks as they are betting pretty hard on this 600MHz spectrum to improve their current network and pair it with their 700MHz spectrum they already own. Dish Network will likely join in on the fun and continue to increase their spectrum portfolio. Although they have yet to do anything with the spectrum they do have. Not even leasing it out to other carriers just yet. There’s also been rumors of Comcast participating. This wouldn’t be new, considering Comcast does have some spectrum that Verizon is using. But it could open up some new business opportunities for Comcast, especially with the increasing costs of being an ISP.