Spectrum Omega - Is General Information Dangerous? May 10, 2016 08:30

 In this post I wanted to look at another source of FCC license data that many industry observers use to determine where carriers are licensed and what spectrum they control.  Spectrum Omega allows the user to select a specific frequency block (AWS F block is shown in the map below).  A map of the original license market boundaries is then shown, along with a listing of the of the wireless carriers that control AWS F block licenses in this market area.  When the original market license was issued only one carrier would be listed for each license, so with 3 carriers listed below the user could conclude that only 3 carriers are licensed for the AWS F block frequencies for the Central Regional Economic Area (REA-005).  It is true that these are 3 of the carriers licensed for the REA-005 market but there are two additional licensed carriers that are not indicated, Rolling Hills Communications (Massena Telephone), and West Iowa Wireless.

Spectrum Omega is only linking to 3 of the call signs (highlighted below in yellow) in this market for the AWS F block, it is not referencing either of the Rolling Hills call signs, the West Iowa call sign, or the second Cellco (Verizon) call sign.

If you are looking for a geographic breakdown for each carrier's licenses, you can click on the carrier's name in the Market Ownership bubble and you are taken to the FCC ULS page where you can decipher the 667 counties that are part of the T-Mobile license.  You need to be very careful looking through this list because a portion of the T-Mobile license doesn't include the entire F block.  The spectrum for these Iowa counties is split between T-Mobile and Iowa Wireless.

If you look back at the market ownership bubble on the map above, you can note that I Wireless only operates lower half of the AWS F block channel, but T-Mobile's half channel isn't noted.

How does this market look in Allnet's Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool?

First, we have mapped broken the spectrum into a F1 and F2 channel to track ownership of the lower block or the upper block.  The first map below indicates the carrier ownership of the lower block.  You can see the Iowa portion of this block that is not licensed to T-Mobile.  In addition, you can see Verizon's ownership of the South Dakota counties, clearly.

In the second map, we depict the upper AWS F block ownership which indicates that T-Mobile is licensed for all of the Iowa counties.

In Allnet's Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool we utilize a Spectrum Grid to display the spectrum owners at a county level.  Below you can see how the AWS F channel is broken into two blocks and the Iowa counties indicated are shared between T-Mobile (TMO), Iowa Wireless (IWS), and Massena Telephone (MS3).

I think that the danger in utilizing Spectrum Omega for spectrum research, is that it seems to provide a clear picture, but it is missing many of the details which could affect the situation that you are analyzing.