PCS has a rule of 75% of population covered for PCS. Covered means 0 bars, but on the phone, outdoors, call timer on the phone started ticking (-102db) when you pressed send.
PCS rules for buildout here »frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin ··· YPE=TEXT
You can actually meet the PCS buildout requirement simply by offering existing service on another band. Thats what Verizon and ATT do with their PCS. Sprint "rented" the PCS spectrum to Alltel in Montana for many years. Alltel never ran service on the Sprint PCS band.In exchange for not having to compete with Sprint, Alltel ran Sprint style "Vision" service on its own 800 mhz channels, and Sprint got to claim the PCS spectrum as being used. Its now a problem that Alltel was sold, and Sprint lost all coverage in Montana.
Also the PCS buildout rules only apply to the 1996 auctioned licenses. Nextwave PCS licenses dont have a buildout rule since Nextwave didn't pay the FCC for the spectrum after bidding on a ****ing huge amount of it (north east quadrant of the continental USA), then Nextwave declared bankruptcy, Judge told the FCC they can't seize it for non-payment or lack of buildout and stripped the terms from the license. Nextwave many years later sold the licenses to ATT and Verizon. They are used for a little bit of 3G data, if anything, today.
Cellular 800mhz had a 75% of square miles (not population like PCS) coverage requirement. The requirement was removed in the early 1990s by the FCC. Cellular licenses dont have to cover 75% of the square miles anymore, but I've never heard of a cellphone company tearing down towers (although coverage was cut by 25% by the transition from brick AMPS phones with 3 watt antennas to puny antennaless digital trash we call cellphones today).