YOU ARE AT:PolicyFight over 600 MHz auction rules moves to the masses

Fight over 600 MHz auction rules moves to the masses

Wireless carriers and trade associations looking to limit the level of participation of Verizon Wireless and AT&T’s in the planned 600 MHz incentive auction have increased their consumer-facing efforts with the launch of a new website mobilebroadbandcompetition.com.

The site, which is backed by among others the Competitive Carriers Association, Computer & Communications Industry Association, C Spire, Dish Network, Rural Wireless Association, Sprint, T-Mobile US and U.S. Cellular, looks to reinforce claims that the nation’s two largest operators should not be allowed unfettered bidding access during the auction. The Federal Communications Commission has said it plans to conduct the auction by the end of 2014, though many don’t expect the bidding to kick off until early 2015.

Those companies backing the site are looking to limit the amount of new spectrum below the 1 GHz band that AT&T and Verizon Wireless can gain control of, claiming those operators currently hold in excess of 80% of spectrum below that level. For the upcoming 600 MHz auction, those parties are looking to limit the two operators to no more than one-third of available spectrum up for bid, which is expected to be around 70 megahertz of spectrum. The topic was the main point of conversation for most at the recent CCA Fall 2013 event.

The site contains a load of information regarding spectrum, auctions and mobile broadband services, as well as links to various reports and presentations providing at least one point of view on the topics.

T-Mobile US, which has been very active in its opposition to open bidding for the spectrum, has put forth its “dynamic market rules” proposal that would place a spectrum aggregation limit on the amount of spectrum that can be won by a single operator. As the carrier explained:

“Under the dynamic market rule, the auction would first proceed with a spectrum-aggregation limit. If the commission’s revenue target is met while the limit is in place, then the auction would be able to close once there is no longer any active bidding. If the revenue target is not met, however, the limit would be gradually relaxed. Should the bidding fail to clear the revenue target once the limit is completely removed, the commission would resume the process by starting at the next lower spectrum target with the aggregation limit in place.”

Verizon Wireless and AT&T have countered this, claiming the government should not put an arbitrary limit on the amount of spectrum a company can bid for.

AT&T has noted in filings that it feels setting strict rules on bidding would suppress auction revenues, which will have some of the proceeds funneled to help fund the FirstNet public safety network.

Verizon Wireless, which parent company Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo said this week was indeed interested in participating in the 600 MHz auction, has also filed comments with the FCC asking for limited regulations on bidding.

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