FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler continues to make his mark as the regulator's leader, appointing Tim Brennan as chief economist for the agency, and Clete Johnson as chief counsel for Cybersecurity in the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau.
Verizon Wireless is tussling with the Competitive Carriers Association over how large an area spectrum licenses should cover for airwaves carriers will purchase in the 2015 600 MHz broadcast TV spectrum incentive auctions. Verizon is arguing for large areas, while the CCA is pushing for small--or at the least, medium-sized--areas, arguing that smaller-sized licenses will benefit rural carriers.
Dish Network may have withdrawn its $2.2 billion bid to get control of LightSquared's spectrum, but LightSquared's plan to get out of bankruptcy rests on getting approval from the FCC to modify its spectrum holdings. Despite statements from Harbinger Capital Partners, LightSquared's chief backer, that such approval is "within reach," regulators have not yet set a timetable for granting such approval, according to a Bloomberg report.
AT&T Mobility said its new "Sponsored Data" toll-free data plans, which allow partners to subsidize customer data costs, do not violate the FCC's net neutrality rules. The carrier's statement came just a day after FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler indicated the commission will monitor the new plans and intervene if they develop into an anticompetitive practice or give preferential treatment.
Dish Network is pulling its $2.2 billion bid to acquire LightSquared's spectrum assets while LightSquared is in bankruptcy protection. That move presumably will the way for a group backed by Harbinger Capital Partners, LightSquared's chief backer, to take control of the company.
Acknowledging that an FDD band plan for the upcoming 600 MHz auction has considerably more support than the TDD approach it has been pushing, Sprint said it now supports an FDD allocation, provided it is structured to maximize "auctionable bi-directional paired spectrum."
LAS VEGAS--FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said the commission will observe AT&T Mobility's new toll-free data plans, which allow partners to subsidize consumer data, to ensure that they are not anticompetitive.
AT&T Mobility announced it purchased 49 AWS-1 spectrum licenses from Aloha Partners II, L.P. The carrier didn't disclose the financial terms of the agreement, but said the licenses cover nearly 50 million people in 14 states--California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas.
Verizon Wireless, Sprint, AT&T Mobility and T-Mobile US said they all continue to make progress in deploying services that will allow wireless customers to send text messages to 911 operators in place of voice calls. Of those three carriers, Verizon appears to be the furthest along in its efforts to launch the service by a May 15, 2014, deadline.
LightSquared wants to see the benefits of a potential FCC decision to rejigger its spectrum holdings, and Philip Falcone's Harbinger Capital Partners is continuing to fend off an attempt by Dish Network to take control of LightSquared.