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Leap and spectrum sharing


bigsnake49
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FierceWireless: Can you talk about any specific discussions Leap has had about network or spectrum sharing?

Hutcheson: The European model on that is something I think has merit to be thought about here in the U.S. as well, particularly when you look at that spectrum asset that we have. It really is a circumstance for collaboration that could make a lot of sense. With that said I don't have any specific comments about any one conversation.

FierceWireless: What about an outright sale of Leap's excess spectrum?

Hutcheson: That's not what I'm talking about here, but the concept on that is to focus on benefitting the shareholder appropriately.

FierceWireless: Do you have a value assigned to your spectrum?

Hutcheson: Our spectrum portfolio [both used and unused spectrum] is worth about $3 billion.

FierceWireless: Some analysts have suggested that Leap could potentially sell all its spectrum and its network and become an MVNO.

I agree with the last question. Leap should let Sprint host its spectrum and become an MVNO.

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"Come pay us 3 billion for our spectrum and let us keep our customers"?

 

Nah.

 

Yeah, particularly since you can acquire the whole company for its debt, pretty much. Although if you buy the company then you assume all the site leases. Are those counted in the debt?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Leap has PCS licenses in many smaller markets & world help sprint when they go to deploy more LTE, but they also have AWS licenses, and I'm not sure which ones are the 'unused' spectrum. Ideally they might buy leap, but they would sell the AWS spectrum or swap it for PCS spectrum in areas where they are spectrum constrained.

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Leap has PCS licenses in many smaller markets & world help sprint when they go to deploy more LTE, but they also have AWS licenses, and I'm not sure which ones are the 'unused' spectrum. Ideally they might buy leap, but they would sell the AWS spectrum or swap it for PCS spectrum in areas where they are spectrum constrained.

 

Leap does have some nice PCS spectrum especially in the C and F blocks holdings. I wish they could do a similar deal to US Cellular where they just buy the PCS spectrum off of Leap.

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Ideally they might buy leap, but they would sell the AWS spectrum or swap it for PCS spectrum in areas where they are spectrum constrained.

 

You guys who keep believing that Sprint can buy another carrier, retain the PCS 1900 MHz spectrum, but then sell off the AWS 2100+1700 MHz spectrum, no problem, are living a dream. For AWS spectrum, really only two buyers remain -- VZW and T-Mobile. That is a duopsony. Basically, everyone else now is selling AWS. So, that puts the advantage in the hands of the buyers. Sprint would not get top value for any AWS that it acquired then sold and might even get stuck with some AWS.

 

No thanks. Instead, stay the course with the three tiered SMR 800 MHz, PCS 1900 MHz, and BRS/EBS 2600 MHz plan. That low, medium, high frequency strategy is ideal, and no other domestic carrier is as consistently positioned to implement it as is Sprint.

 

AJ

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I totally agree with you. People who keep saying that Sprint should just buy out Leap or MetroPCS and then keep the PCS spectrum and sell/swap the AWS spectrum for more PCS spectrum are dreaming. You are right in that the 2 major players who are interested in AWS spectrum are Verizon and Tmobile. No idea what AT&T is going to do with their AWS spectrum.

 

When people say just swap AWS spectrum for PCS spectrum they just assume that Verizon and Tmobile has spare PCS spectrum not being used. Lets see Verizon uses PCS spectrum for its CDMA and EVDO which they can't offload onto LTE until VoLTE and their LTE footprint are nationwide. Looks like Verizon doesn't have PCS spectrum to spare. Scratch Verizon off the list. Lets see Tmobile uses PCS spectrum for 1900 MHz HSPA+ to align itself with AT&T for data and still has GSM on 1900 MHz. Looks like Tmobile doesn't have PCS spectrum to spare. Scratch Tmobile off the list.

 

This is why Sprint only has 2 options:

1. Either stay put and not buy any of the smaller carriers and not deal with having to divest/sell AWS spectrum

2. If Sprint were to buy a smaller carrier like Cricket then keep the AWS spectrum until the value of its spectrum increases or save it for future LTE deployment. We know that the US Govt wants to expand the AWS and not the PCS band so there are chances for Sprint to get more AWS spectrum. I still would rather have Sprint stick to just 3 bands but having AWS spectrum is not the end of the world.

 

Remember that with the Softbank cash infusion, Sprint doesn't need to be in a rush to sell any spectrum it acquires...AWS or not since it is not in a cash crunch where any potential proceeds can help pay down debt. Spectrum will only get more valuable in the future so unless there is a strict build out requirement within that next year, Sprint should hold onto it.

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You are right that it is not the end of the world, but I do are with AJ that it will be harder to get rid of. This was the reason I said they would not sell just the PCS spectrum. Anyway, I know it was purely hypothetical, and although they might now have the financial ability (through Softbank) I know there are plenty of reasons that it still is not a good idea. The best idea would be to finish NV and then worry about adding other spectrum and customers... But if there are opportunities, sprint shouldn't miss them.

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Well, the best play right now is to launch a counterbid to MetroPCS if only to gracefully withdraw if/when offered some PCS spectrum. The best bet for Leap is to let Sprint host their network and they become an MVNO, while Sprint gets access to Leap 1900MHz spectrum for LTE.

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