T-Mobile thinks it can deploy 600MHz by end of 2017
Broadcasters don’t think they can make the moves they would need to make in the 39 months the FCC allotted them after the end of the 600MHz spectrum auction. So, how does T-Mobile think it can take advantage of spectrum it won’t be able to feasibly work on past 2020?
Well, at a MoffettNathanson summit in New York, the Un-carrier thinks that broadcasters have one big motivation for repacking as fast as they can: money.
“I think personally the dynamic will change once the auction is over, because you will have winners in the reverse auction — that means broadcasters who want to get paid — and then you’ll have everyone else,” said Peter Ewens, T-Mobile’s executive vice president of corporate strategy. “And right now I think it’s easy for all the broadcasters to stand together and talk about how difficult repacking is, but once the auction’s over there’s a bunch of people who want to get paid. And they don’t get paid until the stuff gets repacked.”
Big Magenta is even as hopeful as to say that it will be able to deploy 600MHz starting at the end of next year, likely in critical rural areas where there won’t be as many shuffles for TV stations to make. Ewens expects that urban areas should see 600MHz activate in 2019.
But T-Mobile will have to win some spectrum first — in particular, it will have to win in the right markets to support its claim. And the TV stations are still in the reverse auction process right now.