NEWS ANALYSIS: Verizon says it will sell significant portions of its current 700MHz spectrum in an attempt to "rationalize" its spectrum holdings. These sales will be a prelude to buying Advanced Wireless Service spectrum from a group of cable companies.
Wireless is planning to auction off its 700MHz A and B licenses, the mobile
announced on April 18
company currently operates its Long-Term Evolution (LTE) data service on 700MHz
block C spectrum. According to Philip Junker, executive director of business development
for Verizon Wireless, the sale of the 700MHz spectrum will take place if the
company gets approval from the Federal Communications Commission to buy
Advanced Wireless Service (AWS) licenses from a group of cable companies.
The application for Verizon Wireless to buy those licenses
was filed with
the FCC late in 2011.
spectrum purchase from cable companies Cox, Time Warner, Comcast, Leap Wireless
and Bright House would take advantage of currently fallow spectrum. Originally
the cable operators had planned to offer 3G wireless service in conjunction
with wireless companies.
was already well along in its planning to offer wireless
service with Sprint, but that deal was already unraveling when the Verizon
offer to buy the spectrum came along.
Verizon Wireless won't actually start selling any of the lower 700MHz spectrum
until the AWS spectrum purchase is approved, the company's
statement said it was announcing the sale plans now to get things rolling
with potential buyers. The idea is to make sure the 700MHz sale is ready to go
once the AWS spectrum purchase is approved. Junker declined to provide a
specific timeline for sales, however. "The sales process will unfold over
time, and as we make sales we'll make application for license transfers when
that happens," he said.
said the current plans are for Verizon Wireless to add the 1.7GHz and 2.1GHz
band pair to its holdings for use with LTE. While Verizon Wireless doesn't
currently offer any mobile devices that work in these bands, they are available
from other carriers, including T-Mobile. So adding such devices to the
inventory should not raise any technical difficulties. Verizon Wireless already
has licenses to the F block of AWS in Eastern United States, according to
said Verizon Wireless should have a good idea where the company stands
regarding FCC approval. The license applications have already gathered some
opposition from public interest groups that worry that Verizon Wireless doesn't
have enough competition and from other carriers, including T-Mobile, which
would like at least some of the AWS spectrum being sold by the cable companies
for its own network.
said the primary goal of Verizon Wireless is to make the 700MHz blocks
available to other carriers that could benefit from the additional bands. He
said the company is seeking bids from both large and small carriers.