Sprint To Sit Out In Coming Auction of Wireless Airwaves

28 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Sprint Drops Out of Spectrum Auction.

“Sprint’s focus and overarching imperative must be on improving its network and market position in the immediate term so we can remain a powerful force in fostering competition, consumer benefits and innovation in the wireless broadband world,” Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure said in a statement. “Sprint has the spectrum it needs to deploy its network architecture of the future.” The auction will allow broadcasters to sell their unused spectrum to mobile carriers, and get a cut of the purchase price. Phone carriers usually have a voracious appetite for wireless spectrum, and for good reason: they don’t want to lose your business because their networks are overloaded or missing coverage.Spectrum is what carries wireless signals when cellphone and other mobile device users stream video, post photos online, check websites and use other popular features of the devices.In an announcement made over this past weekend, US wireless carrier Sprint said that it will not take part in the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s major wireless airwaves auction next year.

The spectrum up for bid next year is particularly valuable because it can carry wireless signals long distances between cell towers and easily inside buildings for better customer connections. S -2.05 % said it plans to sit out a coming auction of wireless airwaves, a decision that will save the carrier billions of dollars but could deprive its network of upgrades in the future. The auction – for which the FCC will buy airwaves from TV broadcasters that resell the airwaves to wireless carriers – is scheduled to be held in March 2016.

Spectrum allocation might seem like a boring topic, but with more and more people picking up bandwidth-intensive gadgets, carriers need spectrum to support them. The provider just announced that it’s passing on the FCC’s upcoming 600MHz auction after determining that its existing airwaves are “sufficient” for its future needs. One of the big concerns from smaller carriers like Sprint and T-Mobile going into this auction, though, was whether their larger rivals, Verizon and AT&T, would use their sizable war chests to snap up all the desirable spectrum. Such airwaves enable carriers to cover bigger areas by using fewer cell towers because they can travel farther and penetrate buildings better than higher-frequency airwaves.

Bond analyst Dave Novosel with Gimme Credit has told clients that financing such bids presents a challenge to T-Mobile and Sprint because it probably would force them to take on significant amounts of additional debt. The agency agreed to some restrictions—it set aside 30 megahertz of spectrum per market for smaller companies—but did not give T-Mobile everything it wanted. Sprint is betting that there won’t be a big spike in demand that requires more spectrum than it has, or that the lack of 600MHz support won’t hobble compatibility or performance down the line. Verizon has said it does not need any more huge blocks of spectrum, though recent reports suggest the company is weighing a lease of spectrum held by Dish.

T-Mobile had been fighting to get the FCC to set aside more of the spectrum for bidding by carriers other than AT&T and Verizon, which generally have more resources and financial strength to bid for the spectrum licenses. Remember how Sprint jumped on WiMAX in order to have 4G data before everyone else, only to regret its decision and spend a lot of time playing catch-up with its LTE-toting rivals? An FCC official said on Sunday that the agency wasn’t surprised Sprint decided not to participate given the public hints it has made in the past few months, and pointed out that the last two major auctions were a success even though Sprint wasn’t involved. Sprint’s decision to bow out means T-Mobile may have an easier route to winning those airwaves unless other bidders, like technology or cable companies, decide to participate.

You’ll get to keep your current user name (as long as it doesn’t contain invalid characters, in which case you’ll have to go through a few extra steps to make the transfer), and all your old comments will eventually (not immediately) migrate with you. A Sprint spokesman said on Saturday that the carrier is “prioritizing its financial resources to improve our network coverage, capacity, speed and reliability now and over the next few years—and we already have the spectrum we need to do so. That is more important for Sprint and its customers than investing in [this] spectrum that won’t benefit our subscribers until 2020 at the earliest.” After the coming auction, it will take several years for the new spectrum to be fully available to the carriers.

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