Five wireless operators and one cable
provider filed yesterday to swap various swaths of spectrum, reflecting larger
moves within the industry to secure additional licenses for overburdened legacy
networks and new LTE service.
AT&T, U.S. Cellular, Cox
Communications, Peoples Telephone Cooperative, T-Mobile USA and Cricket
Communications all filed various applications with the FCC on Tuesday to sell
or exchange spectrum licenses.
AT&T is buying eight 700 MHz lower B
block licenses off Cox in areas of Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma and
AT&T is also buying four lower 700
MHz C block licenses in Arkansas and Texas from Peoples Telephone Cooperative,
which launched LTE in Texas in February through a partnership with the
If the FCC approves the sale, the two
deals would give AT&T up to 55 MHz of spectrum below 1 GHz in several
markets covered by the transaction.
The documents posted by the FCC did not
specify what the licenses would be used for, but AT&T will presumably put
them to use in its LTE network, which uses lower B block and lower C block
spectrum in the 700 MHz band.
U.S. Cellular is buying four lower 700
MHz B block licenses from Cox spanning, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and
Oklahoma. The licenses could improve the regional operator’s constrained
spectrum position for its LTE network, giving it an estimated total of 61 MHz
of spectrum below 1 GHz in 29 counties, and 49 MHz below 1 GHz in an additional
Cox, which has long abandoned plans for
its own wireless service, sold its AWS spectrum to Verizon Wireless last year.
The transaction is still being reviewed by the FCC.
T-Mobile is swapping PCS and AWS
spectrum with Cricket and Savary Island. Post-transaction, T-Mobile would hold
80 MHz of spectrum across 55 of the markets covered by the sale and Cricket
would hold up to 35 MHz in 18 markets covered by the sale.
The licenses could augment T-Mobile’s
LTE network, which is being deployed in the AWS band.
The FCC is giving opponents to the four
transactions until May 29 to file petitions to deny. Responses to those petitions
must be filed by June 8, with the final round of comments due June 15.