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T-Mobile Sets Sights on Low-Band Spectrum

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 10:31am
Andrew Berg

As T-Mobile's Uncarrier strategy begins to show results, the company is now eyeing more low-band spectrum as it seeks to improve its network. 

Jim Alling, Chief Operating Officer for T-Mobile, said during the UBS Media & Telecom Investor Conference today that his company has plenty of mid-band holdings, but it will need to pick up some low-band spectrum as it seeks to expand its footprint beyond dense metropolitan markets.

Alling called T-Mobile's current mid-band spectrum position "unrivaled" in the industry, as T-Mobile is the largest holder of AWS spectrum in the United States. 

He said T-Mobile would be open to acquiring low-band spectrum on the open market or through the upcoming incentive auctions. 

"We think it's also very important that we have a level playing field," Alling said, noting that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has been supportive of rules that would limit aggregation of valuable 600 MHz spectrum. 

When asked about how he saw AT&T's recent revamp of its pricing plan, Alling said it was a sign that AT&T's Next plans were not working. 

"When we saw [the new plans], we already knew the Next program hadn't been successful," Alling said. "They've finally learned that customers are smarter than they think they are...It was a rip off and customers understood it...AT&T learned that lesson." 

Alling says he thinks that the competition in the industry will continue increase as Sprint gets its ducks in a row. 

"We expect them to be aggressive coming out next year," Alling said, but added that T-Mobile is able to hold its own with anyone in the industry right now.

Alling's comments come just one day after an extensive Senate hearing yesterday, which heard testimony from various industry players on how they would like to see rules crafted for the incentive auction in 2015. T-Mobile's interested were represented by the Competitive Carrier Association's (CCA) Steve Berry.  

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