News Worms
News Worms

TV airwave auction may mean better cell service

Wireless carrier T-Mobile, satellite TV service Dish Network, and cable giant Comcast were among the big winners in the latest federal airwave rights auction. They contributed close to $8 billion to the grand total, procuring 10-megahertz licenses extending across 414 economic areas, roughly 45% of the total TV spectrum that was up for grabs at the auction.

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After gaining access to 20 MHz of nationwide 700 MHz spectrum via the FirstNet procurement, AT&T bid $910.2 billion for 23 of the 5x5 MHz geographic licenses, including three in Dallas, two in St. Louis and two in Columbus, Ohio.

Comcast spent a lot less for spectrum than expected in incentive auctions, MoffettNathanson's Craig Moffett concluded in a research note issued Thursday soon after the auction results were posted. There are also administrative costs and funds for reimbursing an additional 957 stations that must change channels.

Verizon opted not to bid despite previously committing to the auction.

With all of this 600MHz spectrum, T-Mobile basically has the entire country covered.

Your wireless coverage may soon get a lot better thanks to the FCC's latest spectrum auction. Over the coming months, the vast majority of those stations will be moved to a different spot on the airwaves, with most sharing a channel with another station.

Judging an auction by its starting estimates is rarely accurate, said Gary Epstein, chair of the FCC's incentive auction task force.

5G deployment is expected to rely, at least initially, on 3.5GHz band spectrum licenses and millimeter wave bands that exceed 15 GHz.

The low-band spectrum is important for wireless carriers-and subsequently to consumers-as it allows wireless signals to be transmitted over long distances and through barriers, allowing data to travel.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai applauded the proceedings, which began under his predecessor Tom Wheeler, but noted hard work remained.

"The faster the repacking process takes place, clearing this fresh spectrum to be put into service, the sooner we see the true benefits of this historic auction", the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation said in a statement. But this process is far from over. We congratulate all bidders who were successful in the incentive auction, and we applaud all of those past and present commission staffers who worked so diligently on every aspect of this complex undertaking.

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