Today, Sprint Corporation and T-Mobile U.S. Inc. announced plans to merge to form a massive wireless carrier. The combination would reduce the number of national wireless carriers from four to three. Just as the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission concluded when the government rejected AT&T’s 2011 attempt to acquire T-Mobile, such a drastic reduction in competition is likely to harm competition and increase costs for consumers.
Today, the Federal Communications Commission voted to publish an annual report on the state of mobile wireless competition. The agency claims that the metrics assessed in the report indicate that there is “effective competition” in the marketplace for mobile wireless services. Public Knowledge disagrees with the report’s conclusion.
Last night, Congress announced it had reached a bipartisan budget deal with the White House.
The budget agreement includes changes to spectrum policy, including directing the Department of Commerce to identify 30 MHz of spectrum held by Federal agencies to be auctioned for commercial use, requiring the Federal Communications Commission and the Commerce Department to identify and report to Congress on 100 MHz of spectrum that can be allocated for licensed and unlicensed use, and modifying the Spectrum Relocation Fund (SRF) to permit Federal agencies to use SRF funds to study how to use their spectrum more efficiently so more airwaves can be freed up for consumers.
Today, the Federal Communications Commission voted to approve an Order paving the way for the "incentive auction" of broadcast spectrum in the first quarter of 2016. The Commission’s action also establishes a clear path for unlicensed spectrum in the 600 MHz band. While the FCC was unable to preserve the framework agreed to in 2014 that would allow for nationwide unlicensed spectrum in the 600 MHz band duplex gap, it did find a solution that will likely enable unlicensed use of vacant broadcast television channels in markets where broadcasters are relocated to the duplex gap.