The Competitive Carrier Association petitioned the United States Federal Communications Commission to temporarily block an upcoming license transfer deal between major carrier Verizon and spectrum holder Straight Path, and that petition has ended up being denied on Monday. The proposed transfer will see Straight Path handing over much of its mmWave spectrum, a type of wireless spectrum that's particularly useful in 5G deployment, over to Verizon. The FCC announced that it had approved the deal about a month before the motion to stay was filed and also argued that a stay would not mitigate any significant disadvantage for other carriers, such as the CCA's members, who are pursuing their own buildouts.
The CCA's arguments for a stay revolved mostly around the fact that it would allow other mmWave spectrum holders to get operations off the ground, though the organization was not shy at all about saying that the transaction should not be happening at all. According to the CCA, Straight Path's hoarding of spectrum licenses for future lease and sale is an improper use of such holdings, and all should have been returned to the FCC long ago. The CCA called the $2.5 billion that Straight Path stands to gain from the Verizon deal "ill-gotten gains" as well.
The deal in question is a major one indeed; Straight Path has spent quite some time amassing spectrum in various frequency ranges for eventual licensing or sale to network entities like carriers. The deal in question will see Verizon scooping up about 30-percent of all the commercially available mmWave spectrum out today, giving it a significant coverage and range advantage in the 5G race, as well as open up a wide range of options for the company when it comes to how it will handle its ongoing 5G work. Verizon, like other carriers, plans to use mmWave spectrum for fixed 5G access points and small cells. The former is mostly used for coverage over small areas with large amounts of users, while small cells have a smaller coverage range and normally have their coverage areas chained together to create a cohesive coverage zone that can provide high-speed data to a large number of customers.