There's been a lot of talk recently about the Incentive auction for the 600MHz spectrum, which is set to take place in the first quarter of next year. Yesterday, the FCC voted on the final set of rules, and will have a reserve of 30MHz for the smaller carriers to bid on. While T-Mobile didn't get the 40MHz reserve they wanted, they did get a reserve which has never happened before. T-Mobile also appears to be the only ones enthusiastic about the auction. While Verizon has said they don't need to participate.
Sprint said in a statement that they plan to review the rules and then make a decision about participating in the auction after that. Verizon's CFO Fran Shammo stated on their recent earnings call, in regards to the auction, "the need for low-band spectrum for us is not a great need." However, AT&T has some serious concerns about the auction's framework, especially after yesterday's news.
T-Mobile is also ecstatic because the FCC has set the date for the auction as March 29th, 2016. Which means it'll be before a new commission gets in there. Which was their biggest worry because AT&T and Verizon could strong-arm the new commission into getting what they want. According to John Legere, during his Periscope yesterday.
Verizon obviously wasn't happy about the rules from the FCC:
"T-Mobile and Sprint are financially well-positioned to participate in spectrum auctions as confirmed in their recent quarterly earnings calls with Wall Street," Verizon said in a statement. "We did not believe they needed set-asides from the FCC at the expense of American taxpayers in the first place, and they certainly didn't need any additional help on top of that."
So the spectrum auction next year is going to be pretty interesting. While the FCC didn't give any of the US carriers what they wanted, per say, there are some unprecedented things at play in this auction. Hopefully the auction of the 600MHz spectrum will help drive in more competition into the wireless industry. We've already seen a ton of competition in the past few years, and it can only get better.