Verizon is the number one carrier here in the US, with about 40% of the nation’s postpaid customers being on Verizon there’s bound to be some issues with spectrum. Especially when the company only controls about 20% of the spectrum out there. While Verizon did secure a big chunk of spectrum in the recent AWS-3 spectrum, which scored over $45 billion, $10.8 billion of which was from Verizon and they only came in second place behind AT&T. Walter Piecyk who is an analyst for BTIG wrote in a research note this week, that Verizon is preparing to launch an over-the-top video service later this year. There’s also some speculation floating around that the company will integrate this new service with their wireless service. If this happens, the company will obviously be looking to increase it’s limited spectrum. If this new service does use LTE Broadcast technology to be more spectrally efficient, that technology still uses “a decent chunk of spectrum” so the company will need to look at picking up more spectrum.
Piecyk also believes that Verizon is the most obvious buyer of spectrum from the secondary market from players like Dish Network and Sprint. Piecyk also admits that hte company could run into problems from the FCC’s spectrum screen. The agency uses this to evaluate spectrum purchases. The FCC doesn’t want just one operator to have more than one-third of usable spectrum in the market. This screen is used by the agency to determine whether proposed deals after the auction should be subjected to a more detailed competitive analysis. On the flip side, Piecyk also notes that the FCC’s “definition of usable spectrum can be subjective and inputs of the spectrum screen can be altered with any new proposed transaction.” While Verizon is likely interested in buying spectrum from Dish and Sprint, so are their competitors AT&T and T-Mobile.
T-Mobile even said recently at their Uncarrier 9.0 event that they are looking to aggressively buy spectrum in the coming future, to pair with their existing 700MHz purchase from Verizon and a few other regional carriers. Dish has some decent mid-band spectrum, while Sprint has a lot of spectrum all over the place, from low-band to mid-band to high-band. With their 2500MHz spectrum being the most desirable. While it doesn’t give you the most coverage, it does give you the most bandwidth.