An Interesting Auction Down Under

Posted by: Joan Marsh on November 6, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Last week, T-Mobile, through its outside counsel, submitted into the incentive auction proceeding information about auction rules recently adopted in New Zealand.  Specifically, in connection with its 700 MHz auction that will offer 90 MHz of paired spectrum in nine 5 x 2 MHz blocks, the New Zealand Ministry for Communications and Information Technology ruled that no bidder would be permitted to acquire more than 15 x 2 MHz, or three 5 x 2 MHz blocks (or 1/3 of the 90 MHz available at auction). 

Although T-Mobile’s counsel submitted this information into the record, the contrasts between the even-handed approach taken in New Zealand and T-Mobile’s Dynamic Market Proposal could not be more stark. 

First, T-Mobile seeks a limit on all low band spectrum holdings, not just the spectrum newly available at auction.  New Zealand crafted generally applicable limits that apply only to the spectrum being sold.

Second, T-Mobile’s approach would skew the auction in its favor by limiting only those bidders that exceed its newly-proposed low band cap – namely AT&T and Verizon Wireless.  By contrast, New Zealand’s approach treats all bidders equally by imposing a limit on the amount of spectrum any one bidder can acquire.  In other words, while New Zealand’s approach would ensure that no one carrier could obtain all of the available spectrum at auction, T-Mobile’s proposal would allow a carrier like T-Mobile to do exactly that.

Finally, the limits proposed by T-Mobile would gate the disadvantaged bidders, in the first instance, to a single 5 x 2 MHz block – an amount that T-Mobile itself admits is not enough for an efficient LTE deployment.  New Zealand, on the other, permits all bidders to achieve up to 15 x 2 MHz position, which would allow for efficient deployment of LTE technologies.

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A Word about Chairwoman Clyburn

Posted by: Jim Cicconi on November 4, 2013 at 2:15 pm

There’s a lot of excitement today about a new FCC Chairman being sworn in, and rightly so. But there’s a unique Washington aspect to such occasions: I learned long ago that this town pays a lot more attention to the new arrivals than it does the recently departed. So, in the spirit of the day, I thought I’d take a moment to add another reason for excitement, and that is the record of Commissioner Mignon Clyburn during the five-plus months she led the FCC as its Interim Chair.

Many moons ago I spent a bit of time in government, and I learned that one of the toughest and most thankless jobs is to be named interim head of an important agency. The overarching impulse is to be a caretaker given the many uncertainties, not least of which is how much time you’ll have in the post. The Interim Chair position at the FCC is especially difficult. There are legal requirements and timelines. And sometimes you’re handed a monumental task that defines your tenure, like when Interim Chair Michael Copps had to oversee a successful transition from analog to digital television. While Chairwoman Clyburn didn’t have a digital television transition to tackle, she faced a number of formidable tasks. And looking back on those five-plus months, anyone familiar with the FCC has to be impressed by how much Chairwoman Clyburn accomplished.

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AT&T Statement on Senate
Approval of Wheeler, O’Rielly to FCC

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on October 30, 2013 at 10:04 am

The U.S. Senate last night approved the nominations of Tom Wheeler as Chairman and Michael O’Rielly as Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The following statement may be attributed to AT&T’s Senior Executive Vice President of External and Legislative Affairs, Jim Cicconi:

“I commend the Senate for approving the nominations of Tom Wheeler for Chairman and Michael O’Rielly as Commissioner of the FCC. Both are widely respected for their experience and knowledge in communications issues.

“There’s no doubt that this FCC possesses the skills and leadership to tackle the major issues facing our industry, first and foremost the transition to next-generation, Internet-enabled services and networks. All of us at AT&T are excited to see both positions confirmed. We know all five commissioners will play a key role at this pivotal time in the FCC’s history.

“I would also like to commend Acting Chairwoman Clyburn for her superb work in leading the agency over the past several months. She has guided the agency with skill and care, and has a track record of significant accomplishments in a very short time. That’s impressive for any chairman, and I know she’ll continue to contribute to the FCC’s success.”

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TOPICS: Administration, FCC
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AT&T Statement on FCC’s
Rural Call Completion Order

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on October 28, 2013 at 4:49 pm

The following statement may be attributed to Hank Hultquist, AT&T Vice President of Federal Regulatory:

“AT&T is committed to ensuring that all Americans with telephone numbers, including those living in rural areas, are able to receive telephone calls on a reliable basis, and we believe it appropriate that the Commission address practices that stand in the way of this critical public policy.   While we await further details about the order, we commend the Commission for applying the requirements adopted in this order on a technology neutral basis, and to providers at all points along the IP transition.  We also applaud the Commission for taking an approach that should not require providers who adhere to industry leading practices to make costly investments in obsolete systems and equipment that are set for retirement, when less costly alternatives are available. We look forward to learning more about the Commission’s action.”


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AT&T Statement on FCC Approval of Interoperability Order and Industry Solution

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on October 28, 2013 at 2:04 pm

The following may be attributed to Joan Marsh, AT&T Vice President-Federal Regulatory:

“Last month, AT&T agreed to a voluntary industry framework that will resolve interoperability issues in the lower 700 MHz band. A critical prerequisite to the commitments made by AT&T is FCC action to harmonize the lower 700 MHz E Block, lowering permissible power limits to eliminate the potential for harmful interference. We are pleased to see the FCC moving swiftly to address these interference issues consistent with the negotiated solution. The action the Commission takes today, under continued leadership by Chairwoman Clyburn, is a critical step to achieving 700 MHz interoperability that will in turn foster industry investment and deployment in the 700 MHz band to the benefit of U.S. wireless consumers.”

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