${{amount}} USD

my cart

Free Shipping On world wide

  • HOME

Spectrum Blog

Why is T-Mobile Giving Up Spectrum in Hawaii? Tue, Mar 05, 2024

T-Mobile made commitments to the FCC in the Memorandum Opinion and Order in their application for their Auction 108 (2.5 GHz Band Licenses).  T-Mobile committed to divest by sale or swap, 20 MHz of spectrum in the AWS-1, AWS3, PCS, or 2.5GHz bands.  The spectrum sold will be no smaller than 10 MHz blocks of TDD spectrum or 5x5 MHz blocks of FDD (paired) spectrum.  T-Mobile has twelve months to file the transfer applications.

The FCC specifically called out two CMA markets where T-Mobile will need to divest spectrum:  CMA385 - Kauai and CMA386 - Maui.  Although T-Mobile's held spectrum in Hawaii doesn't stand out compared to other markets in the US, the issue with the spectrum screen in Hawaii is that 3.45 GHz spectrum (100 MHz) and C-band spectrum (280 MHz) are not available.  This reduces the available spectrum by almost 400 MHz, thus reducing the spectrum screen by potentially 126 MHz. 


In the above map, the CMA markets in Hawaii are indicated.  To see how each carriers spectrum totals up in each of these markets we will utilize our Web Spectrum Viewer - Spectrum Depth Module.  First we have exported the county spectrum totals by band classification.  Kalawao and Maui county make up CMA 386 and Kauai county makes up CMA385.  The bottom 3 counties in the chart below represent the counties where T-Mobile needs to divest 20 MHz of spectrum.  

Reviewing the data, it is clear that T-Mobile's lower mid-band spectrum and upper mid-band spectrum are the two areas where T-Mobile has a sizable advantage.  I assume that EBS/BRS spectrum is off the table from T-Mobile's perspective and it would be difficult to sell that band due to T-Mobile's nationwide "exclusive" use.

Looking then at the lower mid-band spectrum, T-Mobile's held spectrum in both the AWS-1 and AWS-3 bands is pretty similar with Verizon and AT&T. 

I will also note that if T-Mobile was to give up any of their AWS-1/AWS-3 spectrum holdings they would drop below their desired 20MHz channel in NR band 66.

There are two considerations for T-Mobile's PCS spectrum.  First, T-Mobile controls two blocks of spectrum in all of the Hawaii counties, 15 MHz at the bottom of the band and 20 MHz at the top.  I believe that T-Mobile's agreement with SpaceX utilizes the PCS G channels at the top of the PCS band, so I think the upper block will be retained.  In a perfect world, T-Mobile would sell a 10x10 slice (A8-A11) of their lower block of spectrum to Verizon and swap their A6-A7 spectrum with Verizon for Verizon's F1-F2 spectrum.  In this scenario, Verizon would increase their channel size in two of these counties from 10/10 to 20/20 and in Kauai they would have 25/25.  T-Mobile would then have all of their spectrum together and could have a NR band 25 - 20MHz channel and a dedicated 5 MHz channel for SpaceX.

Add your thoughts to our LinkedIn post or the post on X.




(DA No. 24-183). Public Notice announcing that certain Auction 108 licenses are granted.




How Much Has T-Mobile's EBS License Ownership Changed since the FCC Rule Change? Fri, Jul 14, 2023

 On July 11, 2019, the FCC released a report and order that provided a pathway to commercial ownership of the 2.5GHz Educational Broadcast Service (EBS) channels that were previously reserved for educational groups.  In this post, I am going to examine the progress that T-Mobile has made in shifting from leasing this spectrum to owning it.

We will be looking at two trends, using historical data from Spektrum Metric's Mobile Carrier - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool.  The Mobile Carrier - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool is updated monthly and provides historical analysis going back to 2014.

Looking at our Spectrum Ownership Grid in the Web Spectrum Viewer, T-Mobile's control of the EBS spectrum is clearly seen.  This is our Spectrum Grid displaying "Future" data which includes spectrum that T-Mobile leases or has a pending transaction filed.

Spectrum Grid - Future:

Shifting to the Spectrum Ownership Grid to display the spectrum licensee "FCC" reveals the licenses that T-Mobile actually owns.  All of the white cells are educational licenses that likely lease their spectrum to T-Mobile.

Spectrum Grid - FCC:


National Weighted Spectrum Depth Trend:

The spectrum available in the EBS and BRS (Broadband Radio Service) bands for each county totals 194 MHz.  If T-Mobile controlled every license in every county their National Population Weighted Average spectrum depth in the 2.5 GHz band would be 194 MHz, thus any amount of below 194 MHz represents another licensees ownership or lease of spectrum in these bands.

After the EBS Auction was completed, T-Mobile's total 2.5 GHz spectrum (orange line) rose from roughly 164 MHz to 180 MHz, indicating that about 14 MHz of Nationally Weighted Spectrum is controlled by other carriers and licensees.  The spike in September 2022 indicates the release of the auction results.

Over the same time period we quantified the spectrum that was directly owned by T-mobile (blue line).  Note:  The EBS Auction results are not reflected in this trend line because T-Mobile has not received direct ownership of the licenses.  In the December 2010 to June 2023 timeframe, T-Mobile increased their ownership of the EBS spectrum by 11 MHz (National Weighted Population Spectrum Depth).

MHz-POPs Trend:
MHz-POPs represent the value of the individual or cumulative licenses.  It is essentially found by multiplying the number of people (population) that can be served by a license times the bandwidth (MHz) of the license.  In the chart below, the orange link represents the cumulative MHz-POPs for all of the EBS licenses that T-Mobile owns and leases while the yellow line represents the EBS licenses that T-Mobile owns.  In December 2020, T-Mobile had 29 Billion MHz-POPs of leased EBS spectrum and over the last 30 months they have converted about 2.5 Billion MHz-POPs of those licenses into owned spectrum.  Again, the EBS auction licenses are not reflected on the Owned EBS trend line since the licenses have not been granted.



Spectrum Reductions due to CBRS Consent Decree Tue, Aug 09, 2022

Previously we have written about the CBRS Consent Decree between the FCC and SAL Spectrum, Cable One, NorthWestern Corporation, US Cellular Corporation, and Shenandoah Cable Television.  Each of these CBRS auction winners had an investment from Black Rock, Inc greater than 10% interest.  Below are charts that reflecting each carrier's auction winnings, the licenses that they requested following the consent decree, and changes to each carriers market assignments. 

Looking at the Combined Blackrock from the Auction Results table, there are many markets where the combined group has auction spectrum allotments of 60MHz.  In the Updated License table, many markets went from being above the 40MHz limit to being below the 40MHz limit.  This is primarily due to SAL Spectrum (ATNI) declining any spectrum assignments in virtually all of these markets.

The last column to highlight is the GAA Increase column in the Change table.  This column reflects the net increase in GAA available spectrum in each market since the FCC is not planning to reauction this spectrum since it can still be utilized through the GAA usage process. 

 Arkansas and Illinois:




Maryland, Montana, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin:

3.45GHz Auction Results Sat, Jan 15, 2022

On Friday, the FCC posted the results from Auction 110.  On Saturday we updated the January 2021 release of our Mobile Carrier - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool to reflect the auction results.  These results provide the most detailed view of each carrier's spectrum that can be deployed for 5G, particularly all of the available upper mid-band spectrum including EBS/BRS, 3.45GHz, CBRS, and C-band.

In the Spectrum Grid, we can see the channel allocations.  In general, Dish took the upper end of the band with T-Mobile and AT&T alternate having the lower parts of the band.  In many markets, AT&T is pinned in the middle of the band between T-Mobile, Grain, and Columbia Capital.  Each of the spectrum investors has selected spectrum assignments adjacent to AT&T's spectrum meaning they are each well positioned to sell to AT&T if the 3.45GHz spectrum cap is lifted. 

In the National Band Ownership slides we look at each carrier's ownership based upon the percent of MHz-POPs that they control.

For the 3.45GHz band, AT&T leads the way with 39% of the MHz-POPs, Dish has 30%, T-Mobile has 12%, and USCellular has 4%.  

Looking the the complete picture for Upper Mid-band spectrum, T-Mobile still leads with 34%, Verizon follows with 30%, then AT&T with 24%.  Dish has 9% of the upper mid-band MHz-POPs and USCellular has 2%.


2.5GHz Tribal Boundary Applications...Significant Progress Made Tue, Jan 11, 2022

In our December month-end review of open FCC transactions, we saw significant progress from the FCC in the processing the EBS tribal applications.  56 of the pending transactions were granted, reducing the remaining pending applications to 40. 

FCC Tribal Application Status



EBS Spectrum Control Maps Mon, Nov 01, 2021

In our most recent blog post, we highlighted the challenges faced by T-Mobile in two markets where they don't control parts of the EBS spectrum (channels), that limit their deployment of large 5G channels across each urban market.  Where that post focused on the effects of owning or not owning a specific channel across a geography, the EBS Spectrum Control Maps below provide a more general look at the percent of EBS spectrum that T-Mobile owns, the FCC owns, and Other Carriers own.  To complete this analysis we used the MHz-POPs analysis from our EBS Auction Tool, combined with our analysis of T-Mobile's EBS MHz-POPs using the same geographic licensing database.  

While these maps provide insights on the EBS band in totality, the individual issues faced by T-Mobile in Orange County, CA don't strongly appear in these maps because they control all of the EBS channels except the G channels meaning they still control a high percentage of the EBS spectrum in Orange County.    For the Chicago market, the whitespace EBS challenges can be seen  with Lake County receiving a light green and McHenry receiving an orange.

Status Check on EBS Tribal Applications Mon, May 03, 2021

Today was the cutoff for comments on the EBS Whitespace Auction procedures, so let's take a look at the current status of the EBS Tribal applications, which have a priority on claiming EBS white space.  From the chart below, 44% of the applications are still in process.  Most concerning are the 83 applications that have been filed but have not seen any action by the FCC.  Typically applications are moved to a pending status within a few weeks but these applications have been on file since 3Q - 2020.

Tribal Applications Status
Filed 394
Granted 201
Pending 92
Dismissed 18
No Action 83


Below is a map of the granted tribal boundaries overlaid with the EBS A1 channel license areas.  Each of these tribal applications has requested access to the first EBS auction channel (49.5MHz).  Any tribal areas that extend into these license areas will not have access to the A1 channel (5.5MHz) in the overlap area.


Sub-6 GHz Spectrum Screen including 3.45GHz allocation Thu, Apr 08, 2021

Last year we provided an FCC Spectrum Screen Analysis reflecting the effects of the EBS reconfiguration, the CBRS allocation, and the C-band allocation.  Two weeks ago the FCC has revised the Sub-6 GHz spectrum screen through their 3.45GHz rulemaking. 

In the chart below we reflect the spectrum depth allotments that are included in our Mobile Carrier - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool.  The links under in the frequency column will open the FCC spectrum screen documents and the comment field indicates the paragraphs where the spectrum screen is discussed.

The Allnet Spectrum Depth column indicates the spectrum allocations that we use in all of our typical spectrum depth reporting (county, CMA, PEA, State, and National).  The FCC / Allnet Spectrum Screen allocations reflect the allocations that we use in our County, CMA market, and PEA Market Spectrum Screen columns.

Band Frequency Allnet Spectrum Depth FCC / Allnet Spectrum Screen Comments
Low Band 600 MHz 70 70
Low Band 700 MHz 90 70 First Net Spectrum not included
Low Band Cellular 50 50
Low Band SMR 14 14
Lw Mid Band PCS 140 140 Includes H-block
Lw Mid Band AWS-1 90 90
Lw Mid Band AWS-3 65 65
Lw Mid Band AWS-4 40 40
Up Mid Band WCS 30 20
Up Mid Band BRS 77.5 67.5 BRS1 and BRS K guard bands not included
Up Mid Band EBS 116.5 116.5 Paragraph 98-100
Up Mid Band 3.45GHz 100 100 Paragraph 101
Up Mid Band CBRS 0 0 Paragraph 107
Up Mid Band C-Band 280 280 Paragraph 83
Total MHz 1163 1123


To determine the overall Spectrum Screen value, the FCC divides the spectrum screen allotment (1123) by 3 and rounds to the nearest 10MHz.  This makes the new spectrum screen including the 100MHz of 3.45GHz spectrum, 370 MHz.

In the Mobile Carrier - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool we have three views into the Spectrum Screen.  They are a County Analysis View, a Cellular Market Area (CMA) View, and a Partial Economic Area (PEA) View.

County Analysis View:

In this view, each of the national carriers spectrum screen values are displayed along with the amount of spectrum in that county controlled by the FCC.  The FCC value predominately represents the 3.45GHz spectrum allocation, but there is some EBS spectrum (whitespace) that is also allocated to the FCC.

PEA Market Analysis View:

3.45GHz Band Update Tue, Apr 06, 2021

The FCC announced the final rules for the new 3.45GHz band on March 19, 2021.  With our April 2021 release, we updated our Mobile Carrier - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool to include the 3.45GHz frequency band in each of the analysis modules.  The 10 - 10MHz channels appear in our Spectrum Grid as a part of NR Band 77.  In the image below, we highlight the FCC's ownership of each of the channels (pre-auction) by county.  

Honolulu County has a NA (Not Available) code for both the 3.45GHz spectrum and the C-band spectrum since neither band in available in Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.  Looking at the National Band Ownership Charts, we can see that this unavailability affects 2% of the MHz-POPs or 2% of the US Population (~6.6M).

In the County Analysis Module the spectrum depth values for eight selected carriers are displayed.  This image highlights each carriers 3.45GHz, CBRS, and C-band holdings.

Below is a more detailed description of our Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tools and the analysis capabilities it supports.



Auction 108 LIcense Inventory - Alabama Mon, Feb 22, 2021

Attachment A
Auction 108 License Inventory Subject to the Results of the Rural Tribal Priority Window
Proposed Bidding Units, Upfront Payments, and Minimum Bids
County Name FIPS
Channel Item ID Band-
MEA Population
Subject to Small Market Cap Bidding
AL Autauga 1001 1 AL-001-1 49.5 24 54,571 Yes 80 $8,000 $10,000
AL Autauga 1001 2 AL-001-2 50.5 24 54,571 Yes 80 $8,000 $10,000
AL Autauga 1001 3 AL-001-3 16.5 24 54,571 Yes 20 $2,000 $5,000
AL Baldwin 1003 1 AL-003-1 49.5 27 182,265 No 200 $20,000 $50,000
AL Baldwin 1003 2 AL-003-2 50.5 27 182,265 No 200 $20,000 $50,000
AL Baldwin 1003 3 AL-003-3 16.5 27 182,265 No 90 $9,000 $10,000
AL Barbour 1005 1 AL-005-1 49.5 24 27,457 Yes 40 $4,000 $8,000
AL Barbour 1005 2 AL-005-2 50.5 24 27,457 Yes 40 $4,000 $8,000
AL Barbour 1005 3 AL-005-3 16.5 24 27,457 Yes 10 $1,000 $2,000
AL Bibb 1007 1 AL-007-1 49.5 24 22,915 Yes 30 $3,000 $6,000
AL Bibb 1007 2 AL-007-2 50.5 24 22,915 Yes 30 $3,000 $6,000
AL Bibb 1007 3 AL-007-3 16.5 24 22,915 Yes 10 $1,000 $2,000
AL Blount 1009 1 AL-009-1 49.5 24 57,322 Yes 80 $8,000 $10,000
AL Blount 1009 2 AL-009-2 50.5 24 57,322 Yes 80 $8,000 $10,000
AL Blount 1009 3 AL-009-3 16.5 24 57,322 Yes 20 $2,000 $5,000
AL Bullock 1011 1 AL-011-1 49.5 24 10,914 Yes 10 $1,000 $3,000
AL Bullock 1011 2 AL-011-2 50.5 24 10,914 Yes 10 $1,000 $3,000
AL Bullock 1011 3 AL-011-3 16.5 24 10,914 Yes 5 $500 $1,000
AL Butler 1013 1 AL-013-1 49.5 24 20,947 Yes 30 $3,000 $6,000
AL Butler 1013 2 AL-013-2 50.5 24 20,947 Yes 30 $3,000 $6,000
AL Butler 1013 3 AL-013-3 16.5 24 20,947 Yes 10 $1,000 $2,000
AL Chambers 1017 2 AL-017-2 50.5 8 34,215 Yes 50 $5,000 $10,000
AL Cherokee 1019 1 AL-019-1 49.5 8 25,989 Yes 30 $3,000 $7,000
AL Cherokee 1019 2 AL-019-2 50.5 8 25,989 Yes 30 $3,000 $7,000
AL Cherokee 1019 3 AL-019-3 16.5 8 25,989 Yes 10 $1,000 $2,000
AL Chilton 1021 1 AL-021-1 49.5 24 43,643 Yes 60 $6,000 $10,000
AL Chilton 1021 2 AL-021-2 50.5 24 43,643 Yes 60 $6,000 $10,000
AL Chilton 1021 3 AL-021-3 16.5 24 43,643 Yes 20 $2,000 $4,000
AL Choctaw 1023 1 AL-023-1 49.5 26 13,859 Yes 20 $2,000 $4,000
AL Choctaw 1023 2 AL-023-2 50.5 26 13,859 Yes 20 $2,000 $4,000
AL Choctaw 1023 3 AL-023-3 16.5 26 13,859 Yes 6 $600 $1,000
AL Clarke 1025 1 AL-025-1 49.5 27 25,833 No 30 $3,000 $7,000
AL Clarke 1025 2 AL-025-2 50.5 27 25,833 No 30 $3,000 $7,000
AL Clarke 1025 3 AL-025-3 16.5 27 25,833 No 10 $1,000 $2,000
AL Clay 1027 1 AL-027-1 49.5 8 13,932 Yes 20 $2,000 $4,000
AL Clay 1027 2 AL-027-2 50.5 8 13,932 Yes 20 $2,000 $4,000
AL Clay 1027 3 AL-027-3 16.5 8 13,932 Yes 6 $600 $1,000
AL Cleburne 1029 2 AL-029-2 50.5 8 14,972 Yes 20 $2,000 $4,000
AL Coffee 1031 1 AL-031-1 49.5 24 49,948 Yes 70 $7,000 $10,000
AL Coffee 1031 2 AL-031-2 50.5 24 49,948 Yes 70 $7,000 $10,000
AL Coffee 1031 3 AL-031-3 16.5 24 49,948 Yes 20 $2,000 $4,000
AL Conecuh 1035 1 AL-035-1 49.5 27 13,228 No 10 $1,000 $3,000
AL Conecuh 1035 2 AL-035-2 50.5 27 13,228 No 10 $1,000 $3,000
AL Conecuh 1035 3 AL-035-3 16.5 27 13,228 No 6 $600 $1,000
AL Coosa 1037 1 AL-037-1 49.5 8 11,539 Yes 10 $1,000 $3,000
AL Coosa 1037 2 AL-037-2 50.5 8 11,539 Yes 10 $1,000 $3,000
AL Coosa 1037 3 AL-037-3 16.5 8 11,539 Yes 5 $500 $1,000
AL Covington 1039 1 AL-039-1 49.5 24 37,765 Yes 50 $5,000 $10,000
AL Covington 1039 2 AL-039-2 50.5 24 37,765 Yes 50 $5,000 $10,000
AL Covington 1039 3 AL-039-3 16.5 24 37,765 Yes 10 $1,000 $3,000
AL Crenshaw 1041 1 AL-041-1 49.5 24 13,906 Yes 20 $2,000 $4,000
AL Crenshaw 1041 2 AL-041-2 50.5 24 13,906 Yes 20 $2,000 $4,000
AL Crenshaw 1041 3 AL-041-3 16.5 24 13,906 Yes 6 $600 $1,000
AL Cullman 1043 1 AL-043-1 49.5 24 80,406 Yes 100 $10,000 $20,000
AL Cullman 1043 2 AL-043-2 50.5 24 80,406 Yes 100 $10,000 $20,000
AL Cullman 1043 3 AL-043-3 16.5 24 80,406 Yes 30 $3,000 $7,000
AL Dale 1045 1 AL-045-1 49.5 24 50,251 Yes 70 $7,000 $10,000
AL Dale 1045 2 AL-045-2 50.5 24 50,251 Yes 70 $7,000 $10,000
AL Dale 1045 3 AL-045-3 16.5 24 50,251 Yes 20 $2,000 $4,000
AL Dallas 1047 1 AL-047-1 49.5 24 43,820 Yes 60 $6,000 $10,000
AL Dallas 1047 2 AL-047-2 50.5 24 43,820 Yes 60 $6,000 $10,000
AL Dallas 1047 3 AL-047-3 16.5 24 43,820 Yes 20 $2,000 $4,000

Which AWS-3 Licenses are at the center of the FCC - Dish Decision? Thu, Nov 19, 2020

Today, the FCC ruled that Dish should not have received small company discounts for their bidding partners in the AWS-3 auction, meaning that Dish would need to pay full price for the spectrum licenses won by Northstar and SNR or they would need to return the spectrum to the FCC for a re-auction.

Below is a map that reflects the AWS-3 spectrum that would be available at auction if Dish declines to pay the full auction price.

The next questions will focus on who could benefit most from this spectrum.  In the image below from our Spectrum Ownership Grid, the AWS-3 ownership for the Top 3 US markets are shown.  The columns filled with "FCC" indicate the spectrum that would be re-auctioned, so there would be a 5x5 channel in the New York EA (Economic Area Market) and a 10x10 channel in the Chicago market between the Chicago CMA (G channel) and the Chicago EA (H channel).  It is work noting that AT&T already has a strong position in these markets, but Verizon lacks AWS-3 spectrum in each of these markets, although no AWS-3 spectrum is available in the Los Angeles market.


Evaluating Potential Markets - EBS Whitespace Auction Primer | 2.5GHz (3 of 3) Tue, Oct 06, 2020

In August, we had blog post that discussed the counties that are on the EBS band plan and the way that the EBS license areas were determined.  In this post we are going to examine how to use our EBS Whitespace Auction Opportunities Tool.

The EBS Whitespace Auction Opportunities Tool provides carriers, telephone companies, internet service providers (ISP), cable companies, investors, and financial analysts with the tools to evaluate the opportunities in this auction.

As we discussed before, this auction will provide the winner's access to 3 wide band channels in the EBS (2.5GHz) band.  One channels is 49.5 MHz, one channel is 50.5 MHz, and one channel is a combined 17.5 MHz.  In the images below, we indicate how each of the existing EBS channels (A1,A2,..) are component channels in the larger wide band EBS Auction channels.

EBS Auction Channel 1:

EBS Auction Channel 2:

EBS Auction Channel 3:

The population that a bidder can serve is determined by the unlicensed population for each of the component channels within each EBS auction channel.

Below is an example of two counties in West Virginia where 100% of the county population is available for each component channel in the EBS Auction Channel 1.  In our EBS Whitespace Auction Opportunities Tool this is seen in the Spectrum Grid (% POPs) worksheet.  The percentage of the available unlicensed population is divided by the full county population.

Population Percentage Worksheet:

The second worksheet in the EBS Whitespace Auction Opportunities Tool provides the discrete available unlicensed population for each component channel as well as total MHz-POPs for the entire EBS Auction Channel. 

Population Worksheet:

Our next example is a Nevada county that has varying available whitespace population for each component channel.  In the POPs view immediately below, the available whitespace population for EBS Auction Channel 1 varies from 2,024 for the A1 component channel to 43,872 for the B2 channel.

Population Worksheet:

In the % POPS view, the population comparison to the total county population is highlighted with Red to Green cell colors.  For the A1 component channel, the 2,024 available whitespace POPs represents 4% of the Douglas county population while for the B2 component channel, the 43,872 available whitespace POPs represents 93% of the Douglas county population.

Population Percentage Worksheet:

Available Whitespace Area:

In addition to Population Analysis to each component channel, purchasers of the EBS Whitespace Auction Opportunity Tool also receive access to our EBS Whitespace Mapping module in our Web Spectrum Viewer.  Selecting either the A1 component channel cell for POPS or for % POPs, the whitespace license area map for that component channel is displayed.

A1 Component Channel Whitespace Area:

For the B2 component channel the whitespace license area fills a majority of Douglas county reflecting the 92% population availability.

B2 Component Channel Whitespace Area:

The EBS Whitespace Auction Opportunities Tools is available either as a nationwide purchase (all 50 states and US territories) or a state by state purchase.  The purchase will enable carriers and investors to evaluate their opportunity to add 2.5GHz spectrum in the targeted markets and it will allow investors to quantity the national or state opportunities for these new channels as well as provide an evaluation of the strength or weakness of the existing 2.5GHz licensee in each market.



T-Mobile's 600MHz Spectrum Leases - More work still needs to be done Tue, Sep 22, 2020

Last week, T-Mobile filed to lease 200 of Dish's 600MHz licenses after receiving Department of Justice (DOJ) approval for the leasing terms.  We are going to examine how these new leases will impact T-Mobile 600MHz network and identify the markets where work will need to continue on T-Mobile's part to consolidate their available 600MHz spectrum into a contiguous block for LTE, 5G, or both.  To start this analysis, we are going to look at the new T-Mobile leases for spectrum in the Top 20 Partial Economic Area Markets.
New York:
In the New York market, T-Mobile will add the D block to their spectrum portfolio.  In the image below from our Web Spectrum Viewer, you can see the D block still in Dish's control with our Future Holdings dataset.  As a reminder, our tools enable users to select to see either Licensed Holdings, Current Holdings, or Future Holdings in the Spectrum Ownership Grid.  Licensed Holdings reflects the carrier that directly owns that spectrum license, Current Holdings reflects either the current license owner or the long term lessee if the spectrum license is leased.  Future Holdings reflects the current operator of the license unless there is a pending assignment (acquisition) or a pending lease filed with the FCC for that particular license.  Since these T-Mobile leases were just filed, they will be rolled into our end of month update so after October 5th, the D block in this Future Holdings view will reflect TMO instead of DSH, but the Current Holdings will reflect DSH until the lease is finalized.  Now back to the effects on T-Mobile's network: Dish's D block will allow T-Mobile to increase their LTE/NR channel size from 10 MHz to 15 MHz in all 28 counties included in the New York PEA market.
It is also interesting to note that Comcast's A block in New York, is being leased by Charter.  This new lease application was also filed last week.  You can get access to these weekly spectrum transactions by subscribing to our Weekly Spectrum Transaction Summary.
In Miami, the effect of T-Mobile leasing the F block is straightforward,  It will increase T-Mobile's LTE/NR channel size from 15 MHz to 20 MHz.
In Detroit, T-Mobile already controls 15 MHz of spectrum but the F block they are leasing from Dish is separated by the D block that Comcast (XFI) owns.  If T-Mobile actually owned the spectrum it would be relatively easy for Comcast and T-Mobile to exchange the F block for the E block, but with Dish owning the license, that exchange would have to be initiated between Dish and Comcast.
In Orlando, T-Mobile faces a similar challenge preventing them from utilizing the entire 15 MHz that they will control in the market.  This would need to be another trade between Dish and Comcast.
In Cleveland, Dish's F block is again separated from T-Mobile's core 15 MHz holdings by a 5 MHz channel owned by Grain Management.  In this market T-Mobile will need Dish and Grain to agree to swap spectrum licenses so they can fully utilize the 20 MHz of spectrum they will have in this market.
San Diego:
In San Diego, T-Mobile will immediately be able to expand their 15 MHz LTE/NR channel to 20 MHz with Dish's F block channel.
In Portland T-Mobile has another opportunity for Dish and Comcast to trade spectrum licenses.  The most logical exchange may actually be for Dish to trade their G block channel for Comcast's E block, so they still control 10 MHz of contiguous spectrum if they cancel T-Mobile's lease.  If this exchange took place T-Mobile could increase its channel size from 10 MHz to 15 MHz.

Geographic Service Areas - EBS Whitespace Auction Primer (2 of 3) Tue, Aug 11, 2020

The primary challenge in evaluating the EBS Whitespace auction opportunities, lies with the available licensing information provided by FCC.  For each of the EBS licenses, the FCC provides a map for a 35 mile radius circle from the license centerpoint.  Below is the FCC map for WHR463, an EBS A1 channel license in Los Angeles county.  Not indicated in this map, is the overlap that this license has with two other A1 channel licenses in Los Angeles county.


In two images below, it is clear that a significant portion WHR463's 35 mile radius license area is shared with WHG227 and WND634.  



The FCC resolves these overlap issues through the creation of Geographic Service Areas (GSA) for each license_channel combination.  The starting point is to look at all of the 35 mile overlaps on an individual channel basis, e.g. A1, A2, ...

Here is an example case with 5 licenses in a 4 county area.


The Geographic Service Areas are initially created by bisecting each of the overlapping areas (splitting the football) so each license has its own exclusive area.


 The GSA's were formed based upon active licenses on a specific date.  Licenses that were issued after this date (PSA6) do not claim any part of the overlap area with existing GSAs.

 These GSA's are sometimes referred to as "Cookie Bite" GSAs.


After the GSA's were formed, any cancelled or terminated licenses lost their area, but none of that area is added to the GSAs that previously overlapped the cancelled/terminated licenses.



The map below represents the licensed spectrum in this 4 county area, prior to the EBS Whitespace Auction for a specific channel.

The final representation of the unlicensed (whitespace) area in each county that will be available in the auction is the area from the GSA boundary for each license to the county boundary.


Going back to Los Angeles County A1 channel example, you can see the WHG227, WHR463, and WND634 licenses in the center of the map reflecting each of their A1 Channel GSAs.

Our final map indicates the whitespace area for the A1 channel in Los Angeles county.  Call signs WHG227 and WND634 were both cancelled after the GSA boundaries were computed, thus their license area is now part of the A1 channel EBS Whitespace, indicated in the orange cross hatch. 




Counties on the Wrong Band Plan - EBS Whitespace Auction Primer (1 of 3) Thu, Aug 06, 2020

As the Native American Tribal Window for acquiring unlicensed 2.5GHz spectrum winds down, we felt it would be a good time to begin an education process for the EBS Whitespace Auction through a series of blog posts.  Our first post is focusing on the markets (counties) where the existing licensees are operating a band plan that is incompatible with the established 3 channel auction configuration.  The counties below in red still have EBS licenses that are operating video broadcast systems which utilize what is referred to as the pre-transition band plan.  We posted a blog in 2018 that discussed the transition from the pre-transition band to the post transition band.  This transition was necessary to provide Clearwire, and then Sprint with spectrum free from video interference on which they could deploy LTE.
FCC Pre-transition Band Plan:
As a quick review, the pre-transition band plan interleaved different licenses, e.g. A channels and B channels.  A licensee would typically control all of the A channels (A1, A2, A3, and A4) or the B channels (B1, B2, B3, and B4).
Source: FCC
If the channels haven't been transitioned, you won't have the same individual channel sizes (the video channels were all 6 MHz, while now the A1, A2, and A3 channels are 5.5 MHz), and they can't be grouped to make the same Auction Channels like the 49.5 MHz Channel 1 below.
EBS Auction - Channel 1:
The EBS Auction - Channel 2 is the first place we begin to see the guardband channels that were created in the transition process.  Each of these channels is 0.33 MHz.  For the pre-auction licenses, the owners of the guardband channel JA1) is the owner of the A1 channel in the same geographic area.  Channel 2 below is the 50.5 MHz EBS Auction channel.
EBS Auction - Channel 2:
The final EBS Auction - Channel is the only one that has two discontiguous blocks of spectrum.  It has 1 MHz of spectrum in the KG guardband channels and 16.5 MHz of spectrum in the G channels.
EBS Auction - Channel 3:

Auction 103 Millimeter Wave - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool Update and Release Thu, Mar 12, 2020

Spektrum Metrics Insights & Analytics is pleased to announce that our Millimeter Wave - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool has been updated with the Auction 103 results and is available for purchase.

Below is a sample of the Spectrum Grid Analysis Module, highlighting the 37/39 GHz spectrum ownership for the New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago CMA markets.

The Millimeter Wave - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool contains 20 additional analysis modules including:

  • Spectrum Depth - County
  • Spectrum Depth - Company Profile
  • Spectrum Depth - NR Band Class
  • Spectrum Depth - Frequency Band
  • Spectrum Depth - Market
    • Cellular Market Area (CMA)
    • Partial Economic Area (PEA)
    • Designated Market Area (DMA)
  • Spectrum Depth - Country
  • Spectrum Depth - State
  • Spectrum Depth - Channel
  • Licensed POPs Analysis
    • By Channel
    • By Frequency Band
  • MHz-POPs Analysis
    • By Frequency Band
    • By Country
  • NR Channel Analysis 
  • Contiguous Spectrum Analysis
  • Frequency Band Ownership Analysis

With our Web Spectrum Viewer subscription, maps for each carrier's total Millimeter Wave spectrum depth and their spectrum depth for each frequency band are available.  Below is a map for the 47GHz spectrum that Sprint won in Auction 103.

Click here to contact Spektrum Metrics Insights & Analytics.

Verizon Sweeps up Two Additional 28GHz Acquistions Tue, Nov 26, 2019

Last week, Verizon filed applications to acquire the 28GHz (LMDS) spectrum held by two additional companies; Sunshine LMDS and Virginia Tech Foundation.  We are using our recently released, Web Spectrum Viewer - Mapping Module to illustrate the spectrum owned by each of these companies.  As with Verizon's other recent 28GHz acquisitions these transactions involve the Local Multipoint Distribution Service (LMDS) spectrum that was owned prior to Auction 101.    The first map below illustrates the license area for Sunshine LMDS.  Verizon is only acquiring the L1 and L2 channel spectrum from Sunshine LMDS.  The spectrum depths on the map indicate that Sunshine controls the L1/L2 channels (850MHz) and the remaining A block LMDS channels (300MHz).  The county detail for Sunshine's spectrum is indicated in the second map.

Sunshine LMDS:

Sunshine LMDS - County Detail:

The second transaction involves Virginia Tech Foundation.  In this transaction, Verizon is acquiring rights to both the L1/L2 channels as well as the remaining A block LMDS spectrum.  In the county detail map, the counties where Virginia Tech only controls the L1/L2 channels are visible in light tan color, while the markets where they also control the remaining A block LMDS channels are in a dark tan.  The FCC controls the remaining A block LMDS channels in the counties where Virginia Tech Foundation only controls the L1/L2 channels.

Virginia Tech Foundation:

Virginia Tech Foundation - County Detail:

2.5 GHz Auction - Great for Rural Markets, Limited for Urban Thu, Aug 01, 2019

In July, the FCC released their report and order for their plans to auction the white space 2.5 GHz spectrum.  Using our Mobile Carrier - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool we have created a couple of images to illustrated the auction of the spectrum in a rural county and the auction of spectrum in a urban county.

Our rural example focuses on Wayne County, Iowa.  Wayne County has a population of nearly 6,500.

In the image above, we indicate the primary spectrum ownership for each channel in Wayne, IA.  Sprint is the spectrum owner for all of the BRS (Broadband Radio Service) channels and the FCC is the spectrum owner for all of the EBS (Educational Broadcast Service) channels.  We have highlighted in the Bandwidth row, the different channels the FCC has defined for auction.  The red highlights are for the 49.5MHz channel, the green highlights indicate the channels included in the 50.5MHz channel and the blue highlights indicate the channels included in 17.5MHz channel.  The 17.5MHz channel consists of 3 x 5.5MHz contiguous channels and 3 x 0.33MHz guard band channels.

In the area below each channel we indicate in green, the available population that can be licensed for each channel as a percentage.  Clearly, purchasing any of the 3 channels (49.5, 50.5, 17.5) at auction would provide a carrier with the ability to service 100% of the population with each of the component 2.5GHz channels.

Our urban example focuses on McHenry County, IL.  McHenry County has a population of nearly 310,000.  McHenry County is one of the 6 counties that constitute the Chicago CMA Market.

In the urban example, the carrier that purchases the red (49.5MHz) channel would be able build a network reaching 20% of the population with the A1, A2, and A3 channels (16.5MHz), they would be able to reach 80% of the population with the B1, B2, B3, and C3 channels, and they can reach the entire population with the C1 and C2 channels.  The auction winning carrier will have to coordinate their operations for all but the C1 and C2 channels around the geographic license areas that Sprint already controls.

Millimeter Wave Auction Results and Charts Mon, Jun 03, 2019

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.







my wishlist