Today, the FCC released results for Auction 101 (28 GHz) and Auction 102 (24 GHz). These results are now posted in our Millimeter Wave - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool. The Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool provides 19 analysis modules to analyze each carrier's ownership in each of the millimeter wave bands. These modules include a spectrum ownership grid (below), seven different spectrum depth analysis modules, a MHz-POPs analysis module, and 3 licensed POPs analysis modules.
To summarize some of the auction results, we updated pie charts that were originally published in partnership with Fierce Wireless. These charts represent each carrier's MHz-POPs in terms of the country total.
As Auction 102 completes its 64th round today, I thought it would be a good time to share a map indicating the markets (PEA) where existing licensees already control spectrum prior to the start of the Auction 102. As you can see below, the FCC doesn't control 100MHz of the 24GHz spectrum in Reno (PEA076), Las Vegas (PEA026), and Phoenix (PEA015). The FCC also doesn't control 25MHz of spectrum in Albuquerque (PEA075). All of these licenses originally were controlled by M&M Brothers LLC and they track back to the original 40x40MHz channelization of the 24GHz band. M&M Brothers agreed to trade in their Casa Grande (PEA126), Saint George (PEA229), Gallup (PEA285), Socorro (PEA323), and Deming (PEA375) licenses for 100MHz licenses in the 3 yellow PEAs and a 25MHz license in the blue. Skyriver Spectrum & Technology now controls M&M Brothers licenses.
While the national map indicates the available spectrum depth on a PEA basis, our Spectrum Grid Analysis Module details the specific channels and counties that make up each of the PEA license assignments. In the Spectrum Grid, you can see complete ownership of channel 7 for all of the counties in PEA 15, 26, and 76; with on 25MHz in the two New Mexico counties.
Things are beginning to clear up now that we have the settlement between FiberTower and the FCC, which eliminated an average of 121 MHz of 24GHz spectrum that FiberTower could have provided to AT&T but FiberTower did provide AT&T most of the active and terminated licenses they wanted in the 39GHz band.
With Chairman Pai's comments at MWC 2018, it is clear that the FCC is targeting a 28-31GHz auction by the end of the year. This makes the most sense, since the ownership of the LMDS band is more "clean" than the 39GHz. Looking at the CMA Market Analysis from our Millimeter Wave - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool we can see that most of the spectrum that is in the FCC's hands is the LMDS B block (31,000 to 31,075MHz) and (31,225 to 31,300MHz). It appears that 150MHz of spectrum will be available in 23 of the Top 75 CMA markets. In addition, LMDS A block spectrum (1150Mz) will be available in 15 of the Top 100 CMA markets.
Chairman Pai's comment that 24GHz will be the second auction, also makes sense because the settlement with FiberTower cleared the 24GHz band except in a few western markets including parts of Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and California. This spectrum is currently licensed as 2 - 40MHz channels so these channels don't match up to the new band plan for 100 MHz channels.
It is unknown when the FCC will be able to auction the new 37GHz band with the remaining spectrum held in the 39GHz band. Below is a county-level view of the ownership of this band from the Spectrum Grid Module in our Millimeter Wave - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool. You can see the spectrum blocks controlled by the FCC in grey along with the spectrum that Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile each control. These channel allocations need to be shifted so that carriers own 200MHz contiguous blocks to match the new 37/39GHz band plan.
Looking at this same counties in our County Analysis module for Spectrum Depth, you can see that each carriers allotments aren't always in 200MHz increments which are the channel sizes for the new combined 37/39GHz. The carriers will have to figure out a plan to shift their holdings into 200MHz channels and the FCC will have to deal with fractional channel blocks and fractional counties, since the 39GHz licenses include rectangular licenses that overlap county boundaries.
Allnet Insights' spectrum tools have historically only focused on spectrum licenses that are active or pending. As we compared the size of the FiberTower/AT&T transaction using our active license data, it was clear that FiberTower's terminated licenses make up a large percentage of the transaction. To allow our customers to evaluate the FiberTower transaction in terms of the nationwide scope and market by market effect, we have added the FiberTower terminated licenses to our FCC data set. Since it is not clear how many of the terminated licenses will actually be reinstated, we have not included the terminated licenses in our current or future holdings data until they are formally restored by the FCC.
Below we show FiberTower's active licenses compared to their terminated licenses in our Spectrum Grid for the 24 GHz band. FiberTower's active licenses use the FBT carrier code while the terminated licenses use the FTT carrier code. In this view FiberTower's active licenses only include the Chicago CMA counties while the terminated licenses cover Los Angeles county and all of the Philadelphia counties.
Looking at the 39GHz spectrum blocks, FiberTower's terminated licenses cover the A block channel for all of the New York counties and the H block for all of the New York counties that AT&T doesn't currently control.
For this blog post I am going to use some of the new features of the Millimeter Wave - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool, to break down Verizon's agreement to lease XO's Millimeter Wave Spectrum.
First of all, our data source for this analysis is the Future Holdings data which will reflect Verizon's future lease of XO's spectrum. Allnet's CMA Market Analysis Module details Verizon's spectrum holdings for each of the Top 20 CMA markets (below). From this analysis it is easy to see the markets where Verizon will have significant LMDS A (28 GHz) and LMDS B (31 GHz) spectrum. In addition, markets with out spectrum (Phoenix) and the limited markets with 39 GHz spectrum are easily identified.
CMA Market Analysis:
Next we will look at the State & National Analysis Module to determine the average spectrum depth across the Nation or at a State Level. Looking at the National Average Spectrum Depth, we can see that Verizon averages 576 MHz of millimeter wave spectrum with 511 MHz of that being LMDS A spectrum, 53 MHz being LMDS B spectrum and 12 MHz being 39 GHz spectrum.
State & National Analysis Module:
Last we will look at how many MHz-POPs are included and how they are distributed between each of the frequency blocks. Allnet's MHz-POPs Analysis Module clearly details that this transaction would provide Verizon over 180 billion MHz-POPs. 158 billion of those MHz-POPs are from the LMDS A frequency band, 16 billion from the LMDS B frequency band, and nearly 4 billion from the 39 GHz frequency band.
MHz-POPs Analysis Module: