T-Mobile‘s John Legere recently took a field trip to talk to the Federal Communications Commission or FCC. During this meeting, John Legere advised the FCC on T-Mobile’s status and how its new plans and services have made a huge impact on competition and benefits to consumers as a result of added competition. As most of you know, T-Mobile calls itself the “Un-Carrier,” by offering new and innovative services and plans that go against the grain of the typical plans offered by Verizon and AT&T. The result has been noticeable. For every new idea that T-Mobile has come out with, the big two have lost customers and have had to change or add new plans to stop the trickle of customers migrating to T-Mobile.
But his Un-Carrier ambitions were not the only reason John Legere made a trip to visit with the FCC. Mr. Legere wanted to talk about the low-band spectrum incentive auction, and how important it was for smaller carriers to be able to procure access to the low-band spectrum so that they would be better able to compete against the two dominant incumbent carriers Verizon and AT&T. John further iterated how important it is that this auction be held as scheduled and without any further delays as this would only benefit Verizon and AT&T which, according to an ex-parte filed by T-Mobile (source link below), hold 73 percent of the low-band spectrum. Since low-band spectrum allows for greater building penetration and better coverage in rural areas, it will allow T-Mobile and other carriers to offer competitive services to more customers. This competition will greatly benefit consumers as it could help drive down prices and increase quality of service.
For those who may be unaware, the FCC will be holding an auction of the 600MHz spectrum in early 2016. This auction is important as it brings a new and innovative way for bidding and because it will give smaller carriers a chance to gain much-needed spectrum. The auction is called an incentive auction. The 600MHz spectrum is currently being occupied by over the air (OTA) television and broadcast stations. These stations will participate in what is called a reverse auction. The broadcasters will offer to relinquish spectrum to the mobile broadband providers in return for a portion of the overall sale proceeds. The broadband providers will participate in what is called a forward auction and will bid on the blocks of spectrum that are up for grabs. The neat thing about the way this auction works is that the spectrum relinquished by the broadcasters will be repacked and any stations that wish to remain on the air will move bands to open up clear blocks of spectrum that is more suitable for flexible use.
This is why John Legere is so excited. It gives everyone who is not Verizon and AT&T the chance to by low-band spectrum so that they can provide better and newer services such as expanding LTE or machine to machine (M2M) communications. John Made clear that T-Mobile was going to participate in the auction and that he had great hopes for what this new opportunity will bring for not only his company, but for the consumer as well.