AT&T has two major spectrum acquisitions awaiting FCC approval - Qualcomm FLO spectrum in the 700 MHz range and the T-Mobile acquisition. Sprint CEO Dan Hesse seems to be the figure spearheading the opposition to the T-Mobile purchase, but he is by no means alone.
AT&T has a full court press of lobbyists and PR going largely due to the $6B break-up fee for the T-Mobile deal. The other reason is that AT&T has basically mismanaged the spectrum it does have with its 3G service, according to testimony from AT&T at Senate hearings last week.
[DSL Reports has a story about the spectrum that AT&T currently has and how much it will have after. BTW, note that some spectrum is UNUSED! And according to many sources, including the CNET chart, AT&T is already hogging spectrum.
Mind you, the rules are that you have to actually deploy the spectrum you buy - as in T-Mobile's AWS spectrum - but apparently no one checks to ensure that it is being used. Spectrum is like land - there is a finite amount of it.
A commenter on this blog suggests that bloggers have it wrong, as suggested by the $50B that AT&T has spent in the last 36 months. AT&T spends roughly $7B on mobility CAPEX per year, according to earning call transcripts. So that's about half that at $21B. The rest is pre-paid tower leases, backhahttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.giful costs, mini-towers, additional radios, and the like. They spend it on running 3 networks: GSM, HSPA+ and LTE + plus the voice network which is separate and runs on otherhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif spectrum. According to T-Mobile CEO Humm in his testimony, "T-Mobile does not have sufficient spectrum to roll out a competitive LTE network while also continuing to support its existing GSM and HSPA+ networks."
AT&T, on its policy blog, claims that it isn't warehousing spehttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifctrum, it is simply in holding until they roll out their 4G network. So someday we will use it. Some day soon. (In the same blog post, it claims that Sprint/Clearwire have 175 MHz of spectrum combined.
In the Qualcomm spectrum acquisition case, the FCC decided to analyze Wireless LNP information to determine the consumer need for this merger, which wouldresult in six D block and five E block licenses in the Lower 700 MHz band from Qualcomm to transfer to AT&T Mobility.
And this isn't enough for Ma Bell's mobility unit either. ARS has an article about the other 2 spectrum buys, but the FCC filings excerpts follow.
AT&T Mobility Spectrum LLC and 700 MHz, LLC filed to assign a Lower 700 MHz C Block license from 700 MHz to AT&T Mobility, because the "additional spectrum will enable AT&T to increase its system capacity to enhance existing services, better accommodate its overall growth, and facilitate the provision of additional products and services to the public in the Worcester-Fihttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.giftchburg-Leominster, MA CMA". ..."Preliminary review of the application indicates that in the Worcester-Fitchburg-Leominster, MA CMA, AT&T would hold, post transaction, 61 megahertz of spectrum below 1 GHz." [FCC Filing PDF]
AT&T Mobility Spectrum LLC (nice how they have so many LLC to shift assets and liabilities around, huh?) seeks to buy one Lower 700 MHz Band B Block license from Knology of Kansas Inc., since "the additional spectrum will enable AT&T to increase its system capacity to enhance existing services, better accommodate its overall growth, and facilitate the provision of additional products and services to the public in the Lawrence, Kansas CMA."...."Preliminary review of the application indicates that in the Lawrence, Kansas CMA, AT&T would hold, post transaction, 55 megahertz of spectrum below 1 GHz." [FCC pdf]