Next year the FCC is scheduled to hold an auction for 600 MHz spectrum. This is where all of the carriers will get the opportunity to get their hands on some very useful 600 MHz spectrum, but T-Mobile seems to think that the amount of spectrum being auctioned off is too small. This is why the magenta carrier is currently fighting to get the FCC to increase the 600 MHz auction size.
T-Mobile is doing this fighting in the form of lobbying. Last week T-Mobile apparently sent Tom Wheeler, the Chairman of the FCC a letter highlighting concerns with the current auction size and why it should be increased. The letter was written by T-Mobile’s CTO, Neville Ray and should get the FCC to take a second look at the current auction size. Currently, the 600 MHz auction size sits at 30 MHz, but T-Mobile wants that to increase to 40 MHz. The latest word from a Reuters report was that the FCC was indeed in discussions about increasing the auction to that size.
What is causing all of this uproar from T-Mobile is the simple fact that the carrier thinks the auction is unfair. T-Mobile says that AT&T and Verizon keep buying up all the spectrum leaving the smaller guys, like them, helpless. Other companies seem to have the same opinion, Dish Network, C Spire Wireless and other small companies are behind T-Mobile on the endeavour to increase the auction size. In fact, all of these companies decided to get together and form an alliance called “Save Wireless Choice.” This alliance of companies even stands behind the letter that T-Mobile’s CTO sent to the FCC.
600 MHz spectrum is so valuable due to the fact that it’s great at penetrating building walls while at the same time covering larger areas. T-Mobile does have a point with wanting to increase the auction size to help promote competition, but at the same time AT&T and Verizon have a decent counterargument. That is that if the FCC limits what AT&T and Verizon are able to purchase in the auction, the FCC’s revenues will drop and other companies will not want to participate in the auction. But, there are a lot of moving parts here and at the end of the day it all comes down to what the FCC decides.