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Spectrum Blog

Evaluating Spectrum Screens by Band Classifications Tue, Oct 24, 2023

Recently the FCC opened a comment period regarding an AT&T petition to establish a mid-band spectrum screen. I thought this would be a good opportunity to look at the spectrum screen components by band classification.
In the table below, we demonstrate how each of the Spectrum Screen values for Spektrum Metrics and the FCC roll up into each of the band classifications.  As a reminder, Low Band spectrum is good for coverage, Lower Midband spectrum balances bandwidth with coverage, and Upper Midband spectrum emphasizes bandwidth with less coverage that Lower Midband spectrum. 
In the far right column, we indicate what the FCC spectrum screen component would be for that particular band.  The historical FCC guideline has been to establish a spectrum screen at 1/3 of the total allotted spectrum.
To evaluate each carrier's Spectrum Screen with these band classifications, we updated the Spectrum Screen modules in our Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool to detail the Spectrum Screen values  for each county and each Cellular Market Area (CMA).
County Spectrum Screen:
CMA Market Spectrum Screen:
In the following 3 charts, we highlight each of the national carrier's Spectrum Screen values for the Top 50 CMA markets by band classification.  You can visualize where the inputted FCC spectrum screen value from the table above would lie relative to each carrier's market values.
Low Band Spectrum Screen:
Lower Midband Spectrum Screen:
Upper Midband Spectrum Screen:

Market Spectrum Screens for the US National Carriers Wed, Oct 11, 2023

The recent news highlighting a FCC proceeding into the spectrum screen referenced, some analysis by Raymond James establishing T-Mobile dominance with 350MHz of spectrum on average in the nation's top markets.

To see how that plays out on a market by market basis, I am going to use the spectrum screen analysis data from Spektrum Metric's Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool which details the spectrum that applies to the screen for all of the US counties or for all of the US Cellular Market Areas (CMA).  The chart below is for the Top 49 CMA markets by population (2021 estimated population). The markets are sorted from highest population on the left to the lowest population on the right. I have eliminated San Juan, PR because the national carrier's don't have a consistent investment strategy for many of the US territories including Puerto Rico.


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:

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