The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently revealed that it will now have the capability to provide a very generous 126 MegaHertz (which is equivalent to 10 paired blocks) of licensed spectrum almost covering the entire country in the forward section of its 600 MegaHertz incentive auction. This is certainly a win for Tom Wheeler, the chairman of the FCC, and this move has the potential of setting up an opportunity for a new mobile network service provider to launch its operations here in the United States.
On closer examination, the chances that Comcast, Dish Network, Rama, Columbia Capital, or any one of the more than a hundred entrants of the auction will actually be able to acquire enough 600 MegaHertz licenses to create a countrywide network that will compete with the Big Four (Verizon Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint) are actually quite slim.
However, when one considers the staggering amount of spectrum being auctioned by the FCC, the quality of that spectrum, and the regulatory developments made to the backhaul market, plus new enhancements in the field of Wi-Fi technology and the unlicensed spectrum area, it is fair to say that any business with enough money will sure to be interested in getting some.
What makes the FCC’s 600 MegaHertz incentive auction one of a kind is that is basically serves up an eBay type of role in handing more spectrum to wireless carriers from TV broadcasting companies that no longer have any use for specific kinds of airwaves. However, it should be noted that in order for the auction to become a success, there should be an adequate number of bidding participants joining in. If this does not happen, then TV broadcasters will likely not bother giving up their airwaves.
As for the spectrum being auctioned, it is pretty unique, too. Of all the spectrum that the FCC has ever offered to wireless carriers, this year’s are considered the lowest ever. In terms of capabilities, 600 MegaHertz will be able to reach further distances and even transmit signals better through buildings and other infrastructures more efficiently compared to 700 MegaHertz, 850 MegaHertz, 1900 MegaHertz and any other band being used by American wireless carriers today.
Additionally, any winning bidder at the 600 MegaHertz auction will be able to take full advantage of a couple of key developments in the industry -- the changes to the backhaul market, and an ever improving Wi-Fi field.
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