T-Mobile Rebukes Verizon's Spectrum Assertions to FCC

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.