$19.8 billion airwaves auction may mean better cell service


That's been the general consensus for years, but things are about to change in a massive way. It announced that it has acquired about 45 percent of the low-band 600 MHz spectrum that the Federal Communications Commission was auctioning off in the US.

The third-largest mobile service provider in the US spent $8 billion on its winnings, which amounted to 45 percent of the block of spectrum.

The biggest victor was T-Mobile, which won $8 billion in spectrum, representing about 40% of the total amount bid.

The results, announced Thursday, showed that T-Mobile TMUS, +0.19% was the biggest spender at $8 billion. Not far behind it, according to analysts at Moffett Nathanson, was Dish Network, which won a surprising $6.2 billion in spectrum. Cable and satellite TV providers should make any necessary changes for their customers.

Comcast, on the other hand, just launched its own wireless service Xfinity Mobile, which uses Verizon's towers to sell service to Comcast TV or home internet customers. The former already owns plenty of unused spectrum, while the latter just partnered with Verizon on its own MVNO-based mobile network, and doesn't have enough 600MHz spectrum to augment it.

The commission releases details on the incentive auction results.

But not all frequencies are equal. Without low-band spectrum, it would be impossible to cover many regions of the US economically. After this first part of the auction, the various regional and national frequencies were re-sorted to enable their effective use by mobile carriers. The 600MHz band is largely what was up for grabs in this particular auction, and traditionally it has been used for TV signals.

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T-Mobile will now be able to reach every corner of the USA and Puerto Rico with its mobile service, becoming a third nationwide contender against the giants of Verizon and AT&T.

Where did the spectrum magically come from? "CONSUMERS ARE THE REAL BENEFICIARIES, AS BROADCASTERS INVEST NEW RESOURCES IN PROGRAMMING AND SERVICE, AND ADDITIONAL WIRELESS SPECTRUM OPENS THE WAY TO GREATER COMPETITION AND INNOVATION IN THE MOBILE BROADBAND MARKETPLACE", said Ajit Pai. It was a long and tedious process, and it isn't almost done yet. Now keep in mind that rolling this out will take a couple of years.

As part of the process of clearing the spectrum, 957 stations that did not put their spectrum up for bid will still get new channel assignments, with the first group of stations scheduled to move on November 30, 2018.

Will my region be getting service? . It spent $7.99 billion to acquire the 600 MHz spectrum it received from the FCC auction.

The new spectrum represents T-Mobile's biggest investment in its history.

The FCC created the auction to free up bandwidth to accommodate the growing capacity needs of wireless technology. The company believes its competitive with this new swath of spectrum. More than $10 billion will go to 175 winning broadcasters that elected to participate in the incentive auction and repurpose their airwaves for mobile use.