5G Spectrum Wars

T-MOBILE PUSHES PAI TO SUPERSIZE 5G AUCTION – T-Mobile executives pressed FCC Chairman Ajit Pai during his visit to Puerto Rico last week to expand his plans for an airwaves auction targeting prime spectrum for carrying 5G signals, according to an ex parte submission detailing the meeting made public Monday. Remember, Pai said he wants to auction airwaves in the 28 GHz and 24 GHz bands in November if Congress passes a legislative fix that allows the agency to deposit payments in the U.S. Treasury. But T-Mobile’s Mike Sievert, Neville Ray and Jorge Martel noted that much of the spectrum in the 28 GHz band is already licensed. For example, after buying Straight Path, Verizon gained control of 76 percent of the 28 GHz spectrum across the top-50 markets, according to the Competitive Carriers Association.

– T-Mobile urged Pai to auction off more of the spectrum bands identified for 5G in the initial auction. “Auctioning more than just the 28 GHz band will, among other benefits, draw more participants and capital, resulting in greater benefits to the U.S. Treasury and the American taxpayer, and in a faster, broader, and more competitive roll out of 5G services,” T-Mobile wrote in the filing. An FCC spokesman declined comment.

– In a related front on the fight over 5G spectrum, CCA urged the commission to revisit a bureau-level decision approving AT&T’s acquisition of FiberTower, whose licenses are viewed as valuable for 5G services. As part of a settlement with the FCC, FiberTower had to relinquish licenses in the 24 GHz band, but AT&T gained the company’s licenses in the 39 GHz band. CCA argued the licenses should be put to auction. The association also previously challenged the approval of Verizon’s purchase of Straight Path.

Source: POLITICO Morning Tech

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