US Cellular signals opposition to 'reserved' spectrum plan for 600 MHz auction

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US Cellular is signaling its opposition to a draft Federal Communications Commission plan for bidding rules for the 2015 incentive auction of 600 MHz broadcast TV spectrum, potentially driving a wedge between it and other smaller carriers.

In a recent FCC filing, US Cellular said it doesn't want the FCC to reserve spectrum in the auction for carrier's that don't have large low-band spectrum holdings.

"We indicated that given a choice between the current proposal and a proposal that did not differentiate between reserved and unreserved spectrum, that we would prefer the latter," the carrier wrote.

US Cellular noted that "a failure to obtain sufficient 600 MHz spectrum could materially limit our ability to deploy 5G services to our existing customer base within a competitive timeframe." The carrier also said that "any proposal to limit access to restricted spectrum during the auction must assess each carrier's spectrum holdings in the aggregate and only then, if above one-third nationwide, apply a market-by-market spectrum holdings analysis."

Crucially, US Cellular added: "Failure to adopt such a proposal will significantly limit our ability to bid for reserve spectrum across a substantial portion of our operating markets, including many of our key strategic markets."

US Cellular signals opposition to 'reserved' spectrum plan for 600 MHz auction