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FCC denies T-Mobile request to limit spectrum, approves new auction procedures

09 Aug, 2015

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted bidding procedures for next year’s spectrum auction and rejected T-Mobile’s request to increase the amount of spectrum set aside for companies like T-Mobile and Sprint. The spectrum auction, scheduled for March 2016, is “designed to allow market forces to make available high-quality low-band spectrum for mobile broadband.” The first-ever two-sided auction seeks to encourage broadcasters to sell spectrum -- through an auction -- which will then be sold in a separate auction to wireless carriers.

The FCC earlier adopted rules that reserved 30 MHz of spectrum for exclusive bidding by companies like T-Mobile and Sprint that do not have a lot of low-band spectrum. In recent months, T-Mobile launched an aggressive campaign to convince the FCC to expand the amount of reserve spectrum from 30 MHz to 40 MHz. But FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and fellow Commissioners unanimously rejected T-Mobile’s proposal. AsThe Hill notes, “Wheeler's decision is a blow to T-Mobile, which had mounted a visible campaign to rally support for expanding the reserve.”

The auction rules carefully balance multiple congressional objectives to encourage broadcaster participation, maximize auction revenue, conduct a fair and open auction, and promote competition.

A summary of the auction rules is available in the FCC’spress release.

FCC votes to deny T-Mobile airwaves request (The Hill, Aug. 6, 2015)


Divided FCC Okays Auction Procedures (Broadcasting & Cable, Aug. 6, 2015)

FCC Establishes Bidding Procedures for 2016 Incentive Auction (FCC, Aug. 6, 2015)


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