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FCC approves AT&T's WCS spectrum plan


bigsnake49
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The FCC on Wednesday unanimously approved changes to the 2.3 GHz WCS spectrum band that will allow AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) to use the spectrum for LTE. The order will allow LTE mobile broadband deployment in 20 MHz of WCS spectrum and would also make an additional 10 MHz of spectrum available for fixed broadband, with the possibility of mobile broadband use in the future. The FCC acted after AT&T and Sirius XM submitted a proposal in June that would change the rules governing WCS spectrum while protecting Sirius XM from interference. AT&T also has been working to get FCC approval for its purchase of WCS licenses from NextWave Wireless, Comcast and Horizon Wi-Com.

 

I think Sprint will get some money out of this. Or maybe a spectrum trade.

Edited by bigsnake49
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So, at&t has WCS, Verizon & T-Mobile have AWS, does this give Sprint the inside track to the PCS H block 10Mhz? Another nationwide 10Mhz would line up well for the long term.

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So, at&t has WCS, Verizon & T-Mobile have AWS, does this give Sprint the inside track to the PCS H block 10Mhz?

 

I would prefer not. No additional boutique bands for at least five years, please. Sprint-uh-Bank will be just fine with a three tier low/medium/high frequency strategy using its SMR 800 MHz, PCS 1900 MHz, and BRS/EBS 2600 MHz holdings.

 

AJ

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I would prefer not. No additional boutique bands for at least five years, please. Sprint-uh-Bank will be just fine with a three tier low/medium/high frequency strategy using its SMR 800 MHz, PCS 1900 MHz, and BRS/EBS 2600 MHz holdings.

 

AJ

 

What would you rather see them focus on, a potential 600Mhz auction? Expanding existing holdings? Spectrum is king and with the BRS/EBS only being in hotspots, Sprint could face a shortage in the next few years.

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What would you rather see them focus on, a potential 600Mhz auction? Expanding existing holdings? Spectrum is king and with the BRS/EBS only being in hotspots, Sprint could face a shortage in the next few years.

 

Which is why I want them to absorb Metro and Leap. It will strengthen their 1900Mhz spectrum holdings either directly or by trading AWS for PCS spectrum.

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What would you rather see them focus on, a potential 600Mhz auction? Expanding existing holdings? Spectrum is king and with the BRS/EBS only being in hotspots, Sprint could face a shortage in the next few years.

 

Actually, I already implied what Sprint-uh-Bank should do: nothing. Stop worrying about acquiring additional spectrum. Work on building out and refarming existing spectrum. Sprint holds 20-30 MHz of PCS A-F block spectrum in 95 of the top 100 markets. As long as Clearwire is in the fold, Sprint-uh-Bank has ample spectrum for capacity. Furthermore, buying additional spectrum runs some risk. As more and more data traffic is offloaded to Wi-Fi and small cells in the coming years, mark my words, some carriers will have overbought, will have spent billions of dollars on spectrum that they do not actually need.

 

AJ

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Which is why I want them to absorb Metro and Leap. It will strengthen their 1900Mhz spectrum holdings either directly or by trading AWS for PCS spectrum.

 

I am not certain that MetroPCS', Leap's, and Sprint's PCS A-F block holdings present as much synergy as you think they do.

 

AJ

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Enlighten us, spectrum maestro:).

 

I should be charging $150/hr for this level of research, but I issue this gratis for the greater good. Here goes...

 

The MetroPCS ship has sailed. Bon Voyage. In return, we can stop pining for MetroPCS. That said, MetroPCS' PCS 1900 MHz holdings do provide some synergies for Sprint, but those synergies can be achieved through divestiture, not full scale acquisition -- just as I stated in my article.

 

As for Leap, its spectrum holdings in the top 100 markets are largely skewed toward AWS 2100+1700 MHz, its PCS holdings mostly outside of the top 20 markets. See my graph:

 

skw1v6.png

 

 

To match up the 31 market numbers with their names and Leap PCS spectrum holdings, see this roster:

 

Houston: 10 MHz

Pittsburgh: 10 MHz

San Diego: 10 MHz

Denver: 10 MHz

Cincinnati: 10 MHz

Kansas City: 10 MHz

Buffalo: 10 MHz

Phoenix: 10 MHz

Portland: 10 MHz

San Antonio: 20 MHz

Rochester: 10 MHz

Memphis: 15 MHz

Louisville: 10 MHz

Salt Lake City: 15 MHz

Dayton: 10 MHz

Nashville: 15 MHz

Greensboro: 10 MHz

Syracuse: 15 MHz

Tulsa: 15 MHz

Charlotte: 10 MHz

Omaha: 10 MHz

Raleigh-Durham: 10 MHz

Fresno: 20 MHz

Austin: 10 MHz

Knoxville: 10 MHz

El Paso: 10 MHz

Albuquerque: 15 MHz

Chattanooga: 10 MHz

Wichita: 15 MHz

Charleston: 10 MHz

Little Rock: 15 MHz

Saginaw: 10 MHz

 

For comparison, Sprint already holds 30 MHz of PCS A-F block spectrum in 16 of those 31 markets. In the other 15 markets, Sprint holds at least 20 MHz of PCS A-F block spectrum in all but two. Now, see the Sprint roster:

 

Houston: 20 MHz

Denver: 20 MHz

Cincinnati: 20 MHz

Memphis: 20 MHz

Salt Lake City: 20 MHz

Dayton: 20 MHz

Nashville: 25 MHz

Tulsa: 20 MHz

Omaha: 20 MHz

Raleigh-Durham: 20 MHz

Fresno: 20 MHz

Knoxville: 17.5 MHz

El Paso: 20 MHz

Albuquerque: 20 MHz

Chattanooga: 17.5 MHz

 

Only one of those Sprint markets is top 10, only three of them top 25. Beyond those, the markets get smaller fairly quickly -- Cricket's focus is more on mid size markets -- and the population densities drop off. One could easily argue that Sprint does not require greater than 20 MHz of PCS A-F block spectrum in those markets.

 

In conclusion, would acquiring Leap just so that Robert could have an extra 15 MHz of PCS A-F block spectrum when he spends the day in Albuquerque really be worth the price?

 

AJ

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Actually, I already implied what Sprint-uh-Bank should do: nothing. Stop worrying about acquiring additional spectrum. Work on building out and refarming existing spectrum. Sprint holds 20-30 MHz of PCS A-F block spectrum in 95 of the top 100 markets. As long as Clearwire is in the fold, Sprint-uh-Bank has ample spectrum for capacity. Furthermore, buying additional spectrum runs some risk. As more and more data traffic is offloaded to Wi-Fi and small cells in the coming years, mark my words, some carriers will have overbought, will have spent billions of dollars on spectrum that they do not actually need.

 

AJ

 

With control of clearwire being under Sprint now, I can see your point. I just hope that Sprint builds out the clearwire EBS/BRS in all the Metropolitan areas

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In conclusion' date=' would acquiring Leap just so that Robert could have an extra 20 MHz of PCS A-F block spectrum when he spends the day in Albuquerque really be worth the price?

 

AJ[/quote']

 

When I go to ABQ? Heck, Cricket is colocated on the Sprint site beside my house. Hesse/Son could give me my own personal 10x10 LTE carrier at my home!

 

Robert via Nexus 7 using Forum Runner

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AJ, thanks for the work you do, gratis or otherwise. However you and I differ in the importance of having PCS spectrum in both the top twenty and the next 20 or 40. Now if they can get divestitures from the the Metro/T-Mobile merger by threatening a counterbid, it's fine with me. Otherwise, acquisition and divestiture of the AWS spectrum is in order. Leap can be acquired for a song+debt and they can quickly divest the AWS spectrum or trade it.

 

I'm not in favor of using EBS/BRS spectrum for mobile except in very dense urban environments. Now if Sprint had gotten in bed with the cable cos and could put small cells on every 3rd pole, then it's a different game. I am more in favor of using that spectrum for fixed/nomadic devices in which handoffs are minimized. So basically what I'm advocating is for Sprint to load up on PCS spectrum by whatever means necessary and use the other spectrum to offload to 800MHz for propagation/penetration and 2600MHz for capacity in urban environments.

Edited by bigsnake49
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When I go to ABQ? Heck, Cricket is colocated on the Sprint site beside my house. Hesse/Son could give me my own personal 10x10 LTE carrier at my home!

 

Robert via Nexus 7 using Forum Runner

 

Totally worth it. I have a cricket site right near my house too (I get full signal)

 

2 klatapaT gnisu III S yxalaG gnusmaS ym morf tnes

 

 

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I have to agree with AJ.

 

PCS spectrum is adequate. Any place that needs supplemental bandwidth should be given EBS/BRS.

 

Sprint's spectrum position (nationwide 7x7 ESMR + varying PCS + 5x5 nationwide G block + EBS/BRS) seems about as perfect as one could want. Sure, it's not as good as Verizon's spectrum plan but it's a heck of a lot better than AT&T's.

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who else uses ESMR? is it possible for Sprint to obtain another 10Mhz of ESMR in the future?

 

Is Sprints 14Mhz in the Upper or Lower SMR, 806–824 or 851–869?

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who else uses ESMR? is it possible for Sprint to obtain another 10Mhz of ESMR in the future?

 

If "the future" means up to a decade from now and hundreds of millions of dollars of additional relocation costs later, then, yes, the answer is maybe.

 

See the graphic that I put together six months ago for this article:

 

http://s4gru.com/index.php?/blog/1/entry-90-fcc-ready-to-give-sprint-official-go-ahead-on-smr-800-mhz-wideband-operation/

 

The graphic shows Nextel's ESMR 800 MHz allocation -- previously surrounded above and below by Public Safety users -- moving up in frequency, while Public Safety moves down in frequency so that all operations are below Nextel's rebanded ESMR 800 MHz allocation. Many of those Public Safety users may eventually move to the Upper 700 MHz D block, which was legislatively given over entirely to Public Safety this year. But that transition could take years and incur costs well above and beyond the time and money that Sprint Nextel has already spent in the current rebanding process.

 

AJ

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If "the future" means up to a decade from now and hundreds of millions of dollars of additional relocation costs later, then, yes, the answer is maybe.

 

See the graphic that I put together six months ago for this article:

 

http://s4gru.com/ind...band-operation/

 

The graphic shows Nextel's ESMR 800 MHz allocation -- previously surrounded above and below by Public Safety users -- moving up in frequency, while Public Safety moves down in frequency so that all operations are below Nextel's rebanded ESMR 800 MHz allocation. Many of those Public Safety users may eventually move to the Upper 700 MHz D block, which was legislatively given over entirely to Public Safety this year. But that transition could take years and incur costs well above and beyond the time and money that Sprint Nextel has already spent in the current rebanding process.

 

AJ

 

What 5x5 spectrum area is Sprint using for the SMR LTE?

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If I was a Sprint customer in Houston, Denver, Cincinnati, Memphis, Salt Lake City, Dayton, Nashville, Tulsa, Omaha, Raleigh-Durham, Fresno, Knoxville, El Paso, Albuquerque, Chattanooga I would definitely appreciate 10 more MHz. Same thing for residents of Florida, Dallas, SF and whatever other cities Sprint is deficient in their 1900MHz spectrum.

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