Thursday, February 14, 2019

Lawmakers Ask What Combined T-Mobile-Sprint Would Do for Rural Broadband

After a nearly three-hour hearing Wednesday on whether the proposed merger of T-Mobile and Sprint is in the public interest, some lawmakers and witnesses remained skeptical of the deal. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ) noted that reports concerning whether the combined entity would eliminate jobs and raise prices afterwards meant, “The facts of this merger are in dispute.”

Indeed, the issue of whether the combined entity, to be called the “New T-Mobile,” would offer rural telecom services and particularly 5G, was heavily debated.


 Both T-Mobile US President/CEO John Legere and Sprint Executive Chairman Marcelo Claure told lawmakers they need the merger to be approved, so they can combine their spectrum holdings, to build the kind of nationwide 5G network they envision to go beyond urban and suburban America.  
Claure said the carrier doesn’t have the cash flow now to build a 5G network and would need to borrow about $5 billion. Even at that, it would only be for urban areas, he said. Legere said T-Mobile could still build a 5G network, but it would be more limited than what it prefers, and the carrier would not be able to get into new businesses like IoT and the home broadband market. Legere is especially interested in the latter, saying the ‘un-carrier” wants to “free customers from the stranglehold of cable.” Continue Reading

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

FCC Makes ASR Changes “Owners Only”

The FCC is employing new procedures to increase the security of its Antenna Structure Registration System (ASR) and reduce the risk of unauthorized changes made to the system. Beginning tomorrow, both the current owner and the new owner of a tower will be required to approve any change in ownership registration.

Once the assignor (current owner) and the assignee (new owner) log into ASR, and complete their respective portions of the application, they must provide the signature of an authorized person. 

Related changes will be made to FCC Form 854, Antenna Structure Registration, on the same date. Continue Reading

Monday, February 11, 2019

Sprint Sues AT&T Over ‘Fake’ 5G Ads, AT&T Fights Back

Sprint filed suit February 7 in federal court, alleging AT&T’s new “5G Evolution”  branding on its phones and networks that use 4G LTE technology is false advertising.

In the 27-page document filed with the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York, Sprint alleges AT&T, “has employed numerous deceptive tactics to mislead consumers into believing” its “offering a 5th generation wireless network.” 

“What AT&T touts as 5G, however, is nothing more than an enhanced fourth generation Long Term Evolution wireless service, known as 4G LTE Advanced, which is offered by all other major wireless carriers,” states Sprint. 


Sprint alleges AT&T seeks to gain an unfair advantage in the race to 5G, “But calling its network “5GE” (or “5G E” or “5G Evolution”) does not make it a 5G network and instead deceives customers into believing it is something that it is not.”

Sprint tells the court, it’s a direct competitor with AT&T, and AT&T’s actions “threaten Sprint’s business and goodwill,” and “harms consumers.” Sprint also claims it’s lost sales as a result. It does not specify an amount in damages it seeks, stating the figure should be determined at trial.  Continue Reading

Friday, February 8, 2019

White House Said to Be Preparing Boost to 5G Deployment

The White House is expected to take action in the coming weeks to boost U.S. 5G deployment and artificial intelligence. The plan would offer the “first deliverables” of a law passed by the previous Congress that laid out a plan to improve U.S. work on Quantum technology, an administration official told The Hill.

Lawmakers and security experts have long raised concerns that China is beating the U.S. in the race to implement 5G and AI. 


The White House plan is expected to include executive orders from President Donald Trump that will funnel resources toward improving AI and 5G technology, the Wall Street Journal reported.

During his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, Trump noted that he supports investing in the, “industries of the future,” reportedly a nod to 5G and AI. The administration is expected to push for increased spending on researching and developing new technologies and using governmental data to improve artificial intelligence, according to the Journal. Continue Reading

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Tower Climbing FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Addresses NATE UNITE

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai made his first appearance in front of a NATE audience yesterday in Dallas at NATE Unite 2019. Having climbed a 131-foot tower last year, Pai said he felt a special kinship with his audience. “I’m impressed by the risks taken by the men and women in this room,” he said following a standing ovation reception at the podium, “people who literally put their lives on the line to make digital communications possible.”

In an exclusive interview with Inside Towers, Pai said he doubts he can top the almost 2,000 foot ascent from fellow FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, but he said he’s not ruling out another tower climb in the future.

With the broadcast repack in full swing, Pai said the need for experienced tower crews is crucial to both repack and 5G buildouts. By November 30 of last year, 143 repacked stations had moved off their pre-auction channels. Continue Reading

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Battle in the Nebraska Legislature Over the Road to 5G

State Senator Curt Friesen of Henderson proposed Legislative Bill 184 to expedite the deployment of 5G for Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska, according to the Omaha World-Herald. The bill will make the approval process and installation for small cell wireless antennas faster. 

According to Friesen, “Nebraska is losing ground to other states and cities” when it comes to being ready for 5G. 


Wireless internet firms and Friesen agree that the slow deployment of small cell wireless in the state is due to the high fees cities charge to have small cell boxes installed on existing light poles, and slow approval processes. Friesen said Lincoln currently charges $2,000 per pole even though the FCC recommends fees to be $270 per pole at the highest.

Those in favor of LB 184 say wireless companies will benefit from it by having more reasonable fees and faster approvals provided by cities. Friesen says the bill will create more competition for the cable industry, but said it is unfair to keep people from high-speed internet by over-regulating the technology. Continue Reading

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

House Commerce Puts Pai on Notice for FCC Oversight

Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA) asked FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on Monday for information and documents related to the Commission’s current workload, the work of its bureaus and offices, and the agency’s interactions with the public through its handling of consumer complaints and Freedom of Information Act requests. 

The lawmakers told Pai in a letter the Committee is reassuming its traditional role of oversight to ensure the agency is acting in the best interest of the public and consistent with its legislative authority. Since Pai assumed the Chairmanship at the FCC two years ago, the agency has been unresponsive to Committee Democrats’ numerous and reasonable oversight requests, according to the lawmakers.   Continue Reading