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back to article FCC demands AT&T prove spectrum scarcity claims

The US regulator has asked AT&T to provide documented proof of the forthcoming spectrum crunch, given that shortage justifies provides much of the justification for its merger with T-Mobile. As part of its investigation into the proposed merger of AT&T and T-Mobile USA the FCC has requested "all plans, analyses, and reports" …

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Facepalm

Calling Bluff, Calling Bluff.....

Its about time that the wireless companies in the States were held to account regarding the use of allocated radio spectrum: it will be interesting to see the response that AT&T give, the detail and HOW they do it will, I'm sure, be mighty interesting to their competitors, too...

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In re:Calling Bluff, Calling Bluff..... → #

They have already screwed Canada.

(Hey, screw Canada would be one catchy theme, eh?)

We will restrict bandwidth until you scream in pain and give us more money.

Mission statement for every US telecom out there.

Cuius testiculos habes, habeas cardia et cerebellum.

So yeah, yippy kay a, band width MFs.

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Bronze badge
WTF?

(title)

Promise them cor and give them cardia. It's the whole foundation of Mexican Food.

I know what you mean though.

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Silver badge

consumers have a real problem even if carriers are telling porkies

"though quite what customers are going to do with that spectrum isn't clear."

It's pretty obvious what they'll do with it. The move to smartphones in itself wont suck another 500Mhz but when data's cheap, smartphone users love streaming AV. Just streaming music instead of using analogue radio will hammer available bandwidth. It's hard to believe the networks want to sell cheap data though, more something they'll be forced into, kicking and screaming the whole way.

Do we actually need more bandwidth? Right now, as an unfortunate O2 user (via giffgaff) I regularly see full HDSPA connections that deliver sub GPRS throughput in the city and voice connections so rate throttled conversation is near impossible. More bandwidth is desperately needed just to deliver usable service at todays rated speeds - because in some places building enough repeaters or new towers just isn't viable.

For consumers this isn't about pumping ever higher headline rates, it's about delivering the speeds our hardware should already be getting. I'm sure the networks plan to sell any extra bandwidth they get as a higher speed, higher profit service but there's still a real problem to solve. The regulator needs to be heavy handed about what carriers get to do with anything they're given though.

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Jobs?

Yes, the merger will create thousands of jobs... at AT&T.

The merger will then eliminate twice that many jobs at T-Mobile. It's all in the marketing of how you say it.

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+1

Usually this is the main point of a merger (eliminate jobs for lower cost for more profit for happy shareholders for higher pay for the top management).

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Bandwidth vs Spectrum

@Paul Shirley

It is really hard for a mobile user to tell what the problem is when the bandwidth seems limited. The actual number of bits per second is ultimately limited by the signal to noise ratio you can achieve. You can't just crank up the power to increase the signal in most cases because one end of the link is running off a battery and the extra interference would just make things worse. At some point you can't use any more spectrum to improve things and you just have to bite the bullet and start installing more access points.

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Silver badge

contention

The problem I see is contention. Too many users in my cell trying to share too few channels. The best signal quality cant give me bandwidth someone else is using. Poor S/N exacerbates the problem but is fairly obvious.

At some point you cant make the cells any smaller and still provide good enough overall signal quality at a reasonable cost. When making fewer users share stops working it's time for more real bandwidth. 500Mhz seems excessive though! Though if it allows much larger cells that could actually force prices down.

Pity none of our existing phones will be able to use it.

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Dropouts

AT&T has the reputation as the carrier most likely to drop your call. That should be proof enough. It also says AT&T built their cells too far apart and finds T-Mobile is the least expensive source for filling that gap.

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mixed feelings

I'm against the AT&T takeover of T-Mobile on principle (they are the only two GSM carriers in the US).

However, I've been an AT&T customer for a long time (Cingular -> AT&T -> Cingular -> AT&T to be exact). I have very few issues with dropped calls but do experience relatively frequent decreases in data bandwidth while traveling (sometimes dropping down to Edge rather than 3G). The T-Mobile acquisition should give AT&T more bandwidth in dense markets and fill in some of the gaps (voice and data) in their network while also giving them a jumpstart on their LTE rollout.

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Anonymous Coward

there's only so much spectrum

If AT&T and Verizon control the majority of it and there's no more to be had, how exactly are any new competitors going to enter the market? Nevermind the backhaul costs. that is painfully massive no matter what. But this is clearly a two-fer; AT&T probably will fix congestion in the densest 20 markets, and they won't need to use the spectrum anywhere else but they will own it so no one else can come along...

I think we're due to repeat the last half of the 20th century. Customers will get screwed for another 10 or 20 years and then suddenly the government will wake up, and break up what by then will surely be only 2 real competitors who have remarkably similar price and service offerings.

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