Verizon and AT&T, after getting a lock on the most valuable 700 MHz spectrum are very upset to learn they may have an unexpected competitor. As I predicted, the protests to a plan to re-purpose satellite spectrum for broadband has upset the wireless cartel’s apple cart.
Both AT&T and Verizon, the two biggest winner’s in 2008′s 700 MHz spectrum auction, voiced their displeasure with the plan. (Both Verizon and AT&T plan to roll out LTE services on their 700 MHz holdings.) AT&T said the provision will give unfair advantage to competitors, such as Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA, which will not have to get approval from the FCC to access the spectrum.
“The commission is setting a very disturbing precedent when it implies that it may use allocation of spectrum to manipulate the wireless market,” Jim Cicconi, AT&T’s senior executive vice president for external and legislative affairs, said in a statement. “This action is manifestly unwise and potentially unlawful.”
“Both the bureau’s process and the resulting restrictions are troubling,” Verizon spokesman Jeffrey Nelson told FierceWireless. “We are reviewing our options.”
The FCC, for its part, defended the restrictions. “These commitments–building out the network to 260 million Americans by 2015 and allowing the FCC prior review of potential leases of spectrum or capacity to the two largest incumbent carriers–do not prohibit any specific transactions,” Paul de Sa, chief of the FCC’s Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis, wrote in a blog post. “But they do provide some reassurance that the approval will ignite new broadband competition while protecting the public from any potential harms.” (DSL reports)
To accuse the FCC of manipulating the market on behalf of a certain player is incredibly bold for AT&T and Verizon who have successfully manipulated the rules their advantage ever since the original AT&T breakup.
A simple tech fact is that at satellite frequencies, it will take double or more the number of towers to deliver service vs 700 MHz. This alone give s the the 700 MHz carriers a huge advantage. AT&T and Verizon are simply upset that they may have another disadvantaged competitor in addition to Clearwire.