Press Release Spectrum Reform

$44 Billion Spectrum Auction Accentuates Position of Dominant Carriers

January 30, 2015 ,

Today the FCC released the auction results from its most recent spectrum auction. Of the approximately $45 billion spent, AT&T spent approximately $18 billion, Verizon spent approximately $10 billion, and T-Mobile approximately $1.775 billion. DISH spent $13 billion, used two “designated entities” to take advantage of the small business bidding credit, and primarily won “uplink only” spectrum (although it also won some licenses in major market areas).

 

The following may be attributed to Harold Feld, Senior Vice President, Public Knowledge:

 

“Many are celebrating today’s auction as a ‘game changer’ for the wireless industry and a fantastic success. But once we get over the dollar signs we find that not much has changed. While encouraging that T-Mobile and other smaller wireless carriers continue to fight to stay in the wireless game, they did not win nearly enough spectrum to challenge the dominant position of AT&T and Verizon. Meanwhile, the two biggest carriers proved once again that they can and will pay whatever it takes to keep their dominant spectrum position in the market.

 

“We also find it encouraging that DISH remains a wild card – but it has a long way to go before it can hope to make to the wireless Big Game. Despite using a bidding credit designed to help small businesses, and focusing on less desirable uplink only spectrum, DISH still had to spend $13 billion just to keep its wild card hopes alive and make it to the next round. We’re glad DISH is still in the game, but that doesn’t make this auction a game changer.

 

“Instead of celebrating this as a big win, we need to recognize this for what it is – proof that without aggressive action to promote competition, the biggest carriers will spend whatever it takes to keep their spectrum dominance. The FCC needs to make it possible for those trying to disrupt the duopoly to get affordable access to spectrum so they can spend those billions on building out new networks.