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

“One of the greatest benefits of LTE-Advanced is the ability to do carrier aggregation or CA, which permits network operators to aggregate spectrum bands fragmented by legacy allocations into broader bands that enable faster data rates.  Initial CA launches are well underway, and aggregation of two 10×10 MHz carriers can enable peak data rates of 150 Mbps.  Qualcomm is developing technology that will aggregate two 20×20 carriers for 300 Mbps peaks.  The LTE future is all about broader and broader bands.

“AT&T is deploying CA with its 700 MHz and AWS allocations.  Sprint plans to deploy CA across portions of its Spark network to aggregate 2.5 GHz carriers with PCS or 800 MHz carriers, adding a third channel to its two-channel configuration next year to boost theoretical download speeds to 180Mbps.  And broad bands are possible without CA.  T-Mobile has deployed 20+20 in Dallas (which means it has 20 MHz paired blocks contiguous) and will bring its 40MHz LTE network to 90% of the top 25 markets by the end of 2015.

“In the AWS-3 order adopted today, the FCC chose a contrary approach.  It instead pursued carrier disaggregation, dividing one proposed 10×10 block of spectrum into two 5×5 blocks.

“As we previously argued, the AWS-1 auction results demonstrated clearly that both auction demand and auction revenue flows first and most freely to larger blocks with larger license sizes.  For this reason, we supported the band plan as originally proposed by FCC Staff.

“The disaggregated blocks will still draw significant interest at auction, I’m sure.  Spectrum after all remains a scarce resource, and this order represents important progress in bringing this valuable spectrum to market.  Any fragmentation driven by the auction design will no doubt be fixed in the secondary market – history shows us that this is inevitable (see AWS-1).  But secondary market fixes means money was left on the table.  And where revenue is essential to pay for relocation costs and to meet other U.S. priorities, that should matter.”

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