The 3.45 GHz auction, which started October 5, completed 23 rounds on October 14, with bids tallying more than $4 billion. Demand started out high at the beginning of the month, but Auction 110 observers saw a large drop in demand on October 8. Actions over the past week suggest the auction is at risk of closing. If demand reaches supply before the minimum price of $14.8 billion is reached, the auction will fail, warn analysts at New Street Research. If things go south in a hurry, the outcome could be known by October 20.
Federated Wireless, one of the pioneers in Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) announced availability of its Spectrum Exchange, which allows CBRS license holders to lease their spectrum, when not in use, to third parties. The exchange is an automated portal that will provide nearly instant access to spectrum without interacting directly with the Federal Communications Commission. The system still awaits final FCC approval, but the company says it’s close to obtaining that.
Starry, a Boston-based fixed wireless broadband provider, is going public with FirstMark Horizon Acquisition Corp in a business combination valued at $1.66 billion. It marks a big turning point for Starry; the provider is using 802.11 technology to disrupt the home broadband space, going up against cable companies and increasingly, wireless carriers. The company charges $50 per month for internet service.
To get an idea of how the Dish/T-Mobile case went in front of the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC), this one bit of testimony might shed some light: They literally started to shut off the lights in the building before all was said and done. The purpose of the hearing was to determine if the CPUC should penalize T-Mobile for lying to the Commission about its obligations in the merger with Sprint. The CPUC approved the transaction in April 2020 with conditions.
Although he’d be all for it, former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler is doubtful that a new spectrum screen would be implemented anytime soon, including before upcoming 5G mid-band spectrum auctions. AT&T filed a petition in September 2021 asking the FCC to establish a mid-band spectrum screen, pointing to T-Mobile’s vast 2.5 GHz mid-band spectrum holdings thanks in large part to its merger with Sprint.
NEC announced it has expanded its collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) in the areas of global 5G and support for the digital government of Japan. NEC and AWS completed a corporate-level strategic collaboration pact in November 2020, and since then they’ve been developing offerings and strengthening delivery capabilities.
Dish Network’s Boost Mobile announced plans to acquire Gen Mobile, a Los Angeles (CA)-based prepaid mobile service provider specializing in serving “cost-conscious” consumers. Boost will be acquiring an undisclosed number of subscribers through the acquisition, but Stephen Stokols, who heads Boost and will oversee the Gen Mobile brand, said a key thing is the connection to bridging the digital divide. Dish is starting to move upmarket with Boost Mobile, but at the same time, “we don’t want to ignore the under-served market,” he said.
AT&T responded to the alarm industry’s attempts to keep the 3G network up and running, essentially chalking it up to a delay tactic designed to line the pockets of alarm companies. While all three of the major US wireless operators are shutting down their 3G networks, the alarm industry is especially reliant on AT&T. That’s in part because AT&T offered aggressive pricing deals back when 3G networks were just getting started. Fast forward to 2021, and those alarm companies are in no hurry to switch to newer networks.
Consumer groups are still very much concerned about what happens if TracFone gets acquired by Verizon even though Verizon promises to serve the public interest.