T-Mobile Spends Nearly $8 Billion as Top Bidder in FCC 600 MHz Auction - Page 2

With the additional spectrum, "T-Mobile customers will be able to speed on a brand-new, wide-open wireless freeway, while carrier customers have to crawl along on their clogged, congested low-band freeways.”

“This additional low-band spectrum means the company will be able to expand its LTE network to compete in every corner of the country, strengthen existing LTE coverage and increase capacity to meet customers’ growing demand for mobile data," Legere stated.

T-Mobile has previously said that it has begun the process of building out its 600 MHz data network, with equipment provided by Ericsson and Nokia, which is already available to wireless companies. T-Mobile has said that it expects to have at least 10 MHz of bandwidth available for use over about one million square miles by the end of 2017.

The only other major wireless company that participated in the auction is AT&T, which picked up a few licenses in urban areas such as New York. The other auction winners are mostly small regional carriers.

The announcement of the winners in the 600 MHz spectrum auction marks the culmination of a process that started 5 years earlier, in 2012. But the process of actually clearing out spectrum so it can be used by wireless carriers will take a while longer.

“Today marks a major accomplishment for the Commission: the ‘auction’ portion of the world’s first incentive auction is officially over,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in a prepared statement. “The reverse and forward auctions have concluded and the results have been announced. But this process is far from over. Now, we begin the post-auction transition period.”

The results will become final when the winning bidders pay the FCC for their frequencies. The FCC will receive about $19 Billion, of which $11 Billion will go to the television stations that are giving up their frequencies and about $8 Billion going to the federal government where it will be used to reduce the deficit.

The spectrum auction will make available a vast amount of bandwidth for personal data communications offered by wireless companies, especially T-Mobile. But the next question is just how long that extra space will last. Considering the insatiable demand for data, it seems to be reasonable to expect new demands in the near future. Is the 500 MHz band next?

However, the real answer is to find new ways to make use of the spectrum that already exists, if only because the supply of spectrum isn’t infinite and there are needs beyond what mobile phone users want.

Spectrum use by today’s mobile phones is far from efficient, so it would seem that the next step by the FCC might be to find ways to improve efficiency for using the spectrum we already have.

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash is a freelance writer and editor with a 35 year history covering technology. He’s a frequent speaker on business, technology issues and enterprise computing. He covers Washington and...