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AT&T: “Our Desire to Participate in [600 MHz] Auction is Unchanged”

Fri, 04/25/2014 - 11:03am
Ben Munson

AT&T is throwing cold water on the notion that it will skip the FCC’s upcoming 600 MHz incentive auctions over rules favoring smaller carriers.

In an FCC filing, AT&T said it has “expended significant resources” in working with the Commission to develop rules geared toward a successful auction and supporting legislation which authorized the auctions.

“Our desire to participate in this auction and our hope for a successful auction is unchanged,” AT&T wrote in the filling. “We believe that all stakeholders will be able to work together to achieve a successful incentive auction for the 600 MHz band.”

The new filing from AT&T is partly in response to documents the carrier submitted last week that stated AT&T was being forced to reconsider its participation in the 600 MHz auctions due to proposed FCC rules.

Once a bidding threshold is met, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has advocated setting aside up to 30 MHz solely for smaller carriers. Any bidder holding one-third of the available low-band spectrum in a market would be barred from bidding on that 30 MHz beyond the threshold. AT&T and Verizon stand to experience the biggest bidding impact from those proposed rules, with AT&T claiming it could restrict its ability to bid in markets covering 70 percent of the U.S. population.

Both AT&T and Verizon are vehemently against the below-1 GHz spectrum aggregation limits that T-Mobile has pushed for as the FCC proceeds with the rulemaking process for the 600 MHz auction. The carriers argue that spectrum caps would eat into auction revenue.

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