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AT&T threatens to boycott a critical airwave auction

2014-04-17 10:05 by
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AT&T has warned it may have no choice but to pull out of a major government auction of the airwaves if the Federal Communications Commission doesn't change some of the rules. The airwaves in the 600MHz band are set to be auctioned next year, and the FCC seems to plan putting restrictions on the biggest carriers. The restrictions could limit the amount of money the auction takes in but help prevent AT&T and Verizon from further dominating the US wireless market.

"AT&T could either participate in the auction, accepting that it will likely obtain only a fragmented and inefficient 600MHz footprint, or it can choose to withhold its capital for other investments and sit out of the auction entirely," AT&T VP Joan Marsh wrote to the FCC.

"AT&T has never declined to participate in a major spectrum auction and certainly did not intend to do so here, where capital contributions will be needed across the wireless industry for a successful outcome. But if the restrictions as proposed are adopted, AT&T will need to seriously consider whether its capital and resources are directed toward other spectrum opportunities that will better enable AT&T to continue to support high quality LTE network deployments to serve its customers."

Withdrawing from the auction would deal a huge blow to the FCC, which needs to raise enough money from the auction to pay for, among other things, a congressionally-mandated next-gen wireless network dedicated to first responders. That system alone is expected to cost $7 billion.

Read the full Reuters story -here-


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