In a statement yesterday, NAB raised points they thought it important to note. We think it’s also important to note that in the last four years alone, AT&T paid more than $10 billion simply for the rights to spectrum for our LTE wireless build. This amount had to be paid before we could even begin spending the billions also required for the actual build out of LTE.
This can be contrasted with the broadcast spectrum at issue here, for which the broadcasters paid nothing, and which, when used at all, serves only a sliver of the population with services that, at best, duplicate robust services widely available elsewhere. In short, if NAB is truly committed to identifying those “sitting” on unused or underused spectrum, they can start by looking in the mirror.
As for the NAB’s call for a government inventory of spectrum, this is another party to which they’re late. AT&T and the entire wireless industry were early supporters of spectrum inventory legislation. Government scrutiny of spectrum use is already underway, and government agencies have identified the broadcasters’ spectrum as underutilized. No wireless company fears a careful examination of spectrum usage. Indeed, the only entity reacting in an over-stressed way at the prospect of such scrutiny is NAB.