T-Mobile Rebukes Verizon's Spectrum Assertions to FCC

By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2012-04-05 Print this article Print

T-Mobile, hungry for spectrum, accused Verizon of gobbling up more than it needs. In a blog post, a T-Mobile executive accuses Verizon of giving misleading data to the FCC.

T-Mobile is out to clarify what it calls several falsehoods that Verizon Wireless shared with the Federal Communications Commission in documents supporting the carrier€™s plan to purchase spectrum from several cable companies and to enter a deal in which the parties would additionally sell the others€™ products.

Steve Sharkey, T-Mobile€™s director of government affairs and engineering policy, makes three major assertions in an April 4 blog post: That Verizon is trying to make the FCC think the deal is not major and the FCC should simply rubber-stamp it, when in fact it will have great consequences; that Verizon has said it€™s more efficient than T-Mobile, when the opposite is true; and that Verizon is a spectrum hoarder that doesn€™t need more, and so doesn€™t deserve, the spectrum it would receive from Comcast, Time Warner, Bright House Networks and Cox Communications, should the deal be approved.

€œThese deals are anything but routine and, if granted, would unduly tip the scales in favor of the largest wireless carrier at a critical juncture in the mobile broadband industry,€ Sharkey wrote, addressing the first point.

To the second point, he wrote that Verizon€™s justifying its €œbuying spree€ by claiming it€™s two-times more efficient than T-Mobile. Sharkey attacks the logic of this claim on a number of fronts.

€œFirst, Verizon€™s analysis divides the carrier€™s nationwide total subscribers by a nationwide average amount of spectrum. But mixing an absolute number of subscribers against a broad average of spectrum produces a pointless number,€ writes Sharkey. €œBecause spectrum holdings and market share vary dramatically on a market-to-market basis, any meaningful analysis must be done at that level.€

Sharkey adds that Verizon includes in its calculation spectrum that T-Mobile doesn€™t yet have access to, making its average appear lower€”while it also leaves out the spectrum it€™s in the process of acquiring from its own count.

Third, Sharkey writes that smartphones use approximately 35 times the data of feature phones, but Verizon doesn€™t factor in that T-Mobile has more €œbandwidth-hungry smartphone customers€ than Verizon.

Michelle Maisto has been covering the enterprise mobility space for a decade, beginning with Knowledge Management, Field Force Automation and eCRM, and most recently as the editor-in-chief of Mobile Enterprise magazine. She earned an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University, and in her spare time obsesses about food. Her first book, The Gastronomy of Marriage, if forthcoming from Random House in September 2009.

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