Thursday, February 23, 2017

First LTE-U Devices Okayed for 5G Operation

The FCC has authorized the first LTE-U (for unlicensed) devices in the 5 GHz band. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai called Wednesday’s action “a significant advance in wireless innovation and a big win” for wireless customers. The action comes after saying broadband deployment is a Commission priority earlier in the day (see story below). Continue Reading

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Speculation Swirls As SoftBank Suggests Carrier Merger

The active spectrum auction will make analysts wait even longer to find out the plans SoftBank has in store for its U.S. carrier, Sprint. SoftBank Group Corp leaders have suggested it will give control of Sprint to T-Mobile’s parent company, Deutsche Telekom to finalize a merger between the two carriers. While sources have told Reuters this is true, the two companies have not started negotiations to avoid violation of anti-collusion rules set by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. Continue Reading

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

On “Nearly Unprecedented” M&A Run, AT&T Flirts with T-Mobile Acquisition

AT&T recently acquired television provider DirecTV for $49 billion, offered $85 billion for Time Warner and is floating the idea of buying out competitor T-Mobile—which would come at an estimated $70 billion price tag, reports 24/7 Wall Street.

AT&T attempted to buy T-Mobile in 2011, but the potentially $39 billion deal fell through. Buyout talks have been reignited due to Softbank, Sprint’s majority shareholders’ interest in a potential transaction with Deutsche Telekom, which is controlled by T-Mobile. Continue Reading

Monday, February 20, 2017

American Tower v. Univ. of Iowa and Connectivity, in Court Over DAS Buildout

In December 2013, American Tower Corp. (AMT) entered into an agreement with the University of Iowa to install and operate two DAS networks for the Hawkeye’s football and basketball venues—Kinnick Stadium and Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The relationship between the two parties quickly soured from that point on.

In August 2015, the University of Iowa notified it was “immediately terminating the agreement” with AMT due to the company’s failure to complete the project in a timely manner, according to The Gazette. Continue Reading

Friday, February 17, 2017

Satellite Broadband Poised For Takeoff As Orbiters Get Smaller

Satellites built by broadband hardware and service provider, ViaSat, are getting smaller, and more capable, said chief executive officer Mark Dankberg. According to Space News, he told investors, “They only require utility cabinets instead of dedicated buildings for their local hardware, they support more spectrum, and are much less expensive to maintain and operate. They are also designed for high reliability and tolerance to terrestrial network outages and weather effects.” ViaSat currently operates a three satellite system, but the company recently applied with the FCC to operate twenty-four satellites in medium-Earth orbit – around 8,200 kilometers above Earth. Dankberg  wants each satellite to be capable of a terabit of throughput.  He acknowledged One-Web, the well funded start up projecting to put 648 satellites in low Earth orbit and “blanket the globe with broadband.”  As Dankberg sees it, “the market is big enough.” Continue Reading

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Ohio Municipalities Fight Back Against State and Carriers with Zoning Rules

In December, the Ohio State Legislature passed SB 331, which received heavy support from the wireless community but significant pushback from local municipalities who believed the bill restricted their authority to regulate small cell deployment.

Now, municipalities in the state are aiming to implement zoning laws and restrictions that exercise their local authority while simultaneously complying with the 2016 state law, reports Crain’s Cleveland Business.

For example, Strongsville, a suburb located southeast of Cleveland, plans to put in place regulations designed to regulate small cell deployment for health and safety reasons, something Strongsville law director Neal M. Jamison believes the state law allows.  Continue Reading

Monday, February 13, 2017

Clock Phase Auction Bidding Ends, Winning Bidders Focus on Frequency Blocks

Bidding ended in the “clock phase” of the forward auction on Friday. This means the broadcast incentive auction now proceeds to the assignment phase, in which winning forward auction wireless bidders can bid for specific frequency blocks.
The auction proceeds as of the end of the clock phase were $19,632,506,746, according to the FCC. Companies bid on 70 MHz of broadcast spectrum that will be re-purposed for wireless use. The clearing target was 84 MHz, which includes guard bands.

The auction began under former Chairman Tom Wheeler and will end under new Chairman Ajit Pai, who called the event a milestone. “The participation of these broadcasters and wireless carriers will enable the Commission to release 84 megahertz of spectrum into the broadband marketplace,” said Pai. “These low-band airwaves will improve wireless coverage across the country and will play a particularly important role in deploying mobile broadband services in rural areas.” Continue Reading