T-Mobile responded to claims from AT&T and Verizon that it’s holding onto too much spectrum. Verizon asked the FCC to reconsider allowing T-Mobile to strike a deal for a 600 MHz spectrum lease with Columbia Capital. Verizon argued that if allowed to go through, T-Mobile will exceed the agency’s 250 MHz threshold for low- and mid-band spectrum in some markets.
Verizon says T-Mobile already exceeds that number by 100 MHz in certain areas, reported Ars Technica. “Concentration of needed spectrum in the hands of a single operator can raise serious competitive concerns and, over time, threaten the health and competitiveness of the wireless market,” Verizon states in its filing.
AT&T told the Commission the T-Mobile acquisition of Sprint resulted in “an unprecedented concentration of spectrum in the hands of one carrier.” AT&T argued the “New” T-Mobile exceeds the FCC’s spectrum threshold in Cellular Market Areas representing 82 percent of the U.S. population, which includes “all major markets.” It asked the Commission to re-evaluate that threshold and be specific about how it will be applied, including transparency concerning when companies can garner spectrum holdings that exceed that level.
T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert responded to AT&T and Verizon’s complaint in a blog post, saying AT&T and Verizon are “feeling the heat of real competition” and are “scrambling to block this new competition any way they can.”
Sievert argued that AT&T previously bought the 600 MHz spectrum that T-Mobile is leasing from Columbia Capital but then didn’t want it and sold it back to Columbia. Verizon, according to Sievert, “never bothered to even show up and bid for any 600 MHz spectrum.” He also stated both carriers want to limit T-Mobile’s ability to bid against them in the FCC’s upcoming C-band spectrum auction, according to the account.