More Detail on AT&T's WCS Spectrum Push
Company on Major WCS Spectrum Buying Spree
AT&T and Sirius XM recently filed a proposal
(pdf) with the FCC in the hopes that AT&T will be able to use the 2.3 GHz Wireless Communication Service (WCS) band for LTE services. AT&T's proposal suggests a change to the rules governing that spectrum, with the intention of limiting any interference for XM radio. AT&T continues to do what they do best (acquisitions), recently acquiring NextWave for $600 million
, with additional WCS spectrum deals planned with Comcast and Horizon Wi-Com. An FCC document now provides more details
(pdf) on the scope of AT&T's ambitions:
According to the applications, if the proposed transactions are consummated, AT&T would be acquiring 10-25 megahertz of A, B, and C Block WCS spectrum from Comcast in 149 Cellular Market Areas ("CMAs"). In addition, AT&T would be acquiring 10 megahertz of A Block WCS spectrum from Horizon in 132 CMAs. Further, AT&T would be acquiring 5-30 megahertz of A, B, C, and D Block
WCS spectrum from NextWave in 476 CMAs. As a result of the proposed transactions, AT&T would hold a maximum of 30 megahertz of WCS spectrum. Finally, AT&T would be acquiring 10-30 megahertz of AWS-1 spectrum from NextWave in 28 CMAs.
Given CWS spectrum's problems with building penetration, the move could be hinting at the possible deployment of an AT&T fixed LTE wireless service not entirely unlike Verizon's Home Fusion service
, where a "cantenna" is affixed to the outside of a subscriber's home.
Good to get spectrum It's great that they're getting more spectrum. Why on earth are they suggesting it's for home use? It should be pretty obvious that it's for capacity. Most phones now "park" on the PCS band, even when there is CLR available, but can drop to CLR if the PCS gets too weak. That's exactly what this band will do, like AWS, for LTE. Say 2/3 of the customers on a given tower at a given time can use it. They can go between WCS and AWS with tons of capacity, and clear the way on 700 for the users that need the penetration.
However, this doesn't help them for a couple of years, as they have to get it, implement it in devices, and build the network out. Unfortunately, they didn't get T-Mobile, as that was the only short-term fix for spectrum, since they could put the PCS band to work right now. 700 and AWS will start making a significant impact when the iPhone 5 comes out, and continue to do so over the next couple of years.