AT&T tries hard to prevent T-Mobile from surging ahead in 5G

AT&T is undoubtedly a giant in the telecom sector around the country. The company made every effort in the last few weeks to tip the scales in its favor in its fight with T-Mobile in the field of 5G services. T-Mobile was the first out of the blocks in 5G and it must have hurt the ego of the company of the stature of AT&T. The best way to thwart the growth story of T-Mobile was to prevent it from amassing mid-band spectrum. AT&T Mail support has decided to flex its regulatory muscle to stop T-Mobile from surging ahead of it in the 5G race.

AT&T filed a petition with FCC in September 2021 saying it should not allow any single player to amass more than one-third of the total spectrum in a given marketplace. Mid band spectrum which lies in the range of 2.5-6 GHz is considered ideal for use in 5-G technology. As T-Mobile has recently taken over Sprint, it allows the company to bid for a big chunk of the mid-band spectrum on auction by the government.

If one looks at AT&T, he finds that the leading telecom player has already spent nearly $30 billion in buying mid-band spectrum. This huge spending has left a massive hole in the capital of the company and it is finding it difficult to move ahead with its ambitious 5G expansion plan. Now that the company is finding itself in a massive debt burden, the only way it can stop T-Mobile from continuing on its path of 5G success is to flex its regulatory muscle. Although there is no official announcement from the company, and AT&T Mail support is also keeping mum on the subject, the news has spread like wildfire in the jungle.

The Federal Communications Commission understands the implications of awarding a huge slice of the mid-band spectrum to a single licensee. It has made use of caps at two levels to make sure no single-player enjoys any kind of monopoly in the market. AT&T Mail support has argued that FCC should apply this rule while awarding mid-band spectrum in 5G also. In its letter to the FCC, AT&T has urged the commission to carry out thorough scrutiny and diligence while awarding spectrum in 5G. According to AT&T, such a policy will ensure equilibrium in the field of 5G in the future.  

One of the main grievances of AT&T in this regard is that the FCC allowed the acquisition of Sprint by T-Mobile without giving any thought to the wealth of spectrum that T-Mobile would be entitled to amass. AT&T has argued that this buying spree of T-Mobile is not for its own use but to prevent its competitors from laying their hands on this all-important mid-band spectrum. AT&T support has appealed to the FCC to ask licensees to divest the excess spectrum in their hands to willing buyers in the market.

Federal Communications Commission has not responded to this appeal so far but it will be interesting to see how it responds to the charges of bending the rulebooks leveled by AT&T. 



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