In order to provide phone service in buildings and in heavily trafficked, metropolitan areas, carriers need to provide service on low-band frequency spectrum. And in order for T-Mobile to acquire more low-band spectrum, it is fighting the FCC to change a few things.
In a post on the official T-Mobile newsroom website, Kathleen Ham, T-Mobile’s Vice President of Federal Regulatory Affairs, has laid out a few changes T-Mobile is requesting from the FCC in order to help T-Mobile acquire low-band spectrum, and enable them to provide service that will “penetrate building walls better and travel longer distances than we can with the spectrum we have today.”
Here’s what T-Mobile is saying:
- In particular, T-Mobile has asked the FCC to increase the size of the “reserve” so that no matter how much spectrum is up for sale, at least 50 percent of it will be held in reserve for competitors with little or no low-band spectrum in that market. This change is critical to guarantee enough “reserve” spectrum to sustain four strong national carriers into the future as the FCC has said is important.
- The FCC has also established two minimum sales prices for the licenses, which we believe needs to change. Under the Spectrum Act that directed the FCC to conduct the incentive auction, the aggregate auction proceeds need to cover any compensation for participating broadcasters, relocation costs, relevant administrative costs, and funding requirements for our nation’s emergency network, FirstNet. In addition to meeting these expenses, however, the FCC has decided the licenses will not be sold unless another arbitrary figure, based on a complex formula involving the U.S. population and the bandwidth available, is also reached. As we have shared with the FCC, this threshold is unnecessary and creates a new barrier to entry for wireless broadband competition.
If the FCC is willing to work with T-Mobile and the wireless industry, this could give smaller carriers a better chance at providing improved service. T-Mobile is doing all it can from its end, providing customers with things like free WiFi calling and texting with every phone they carry. It will be interesting to see how the FCC responds in the coming weeks.