While AT&T tries to buy spectrum from CenturyTel, the Federal Communications Committee may decide to limit the amount of spectrum a carrier can hold.
AT&T is awaiting approval to purchase spectrum licenses, including 51 lower 700 MHz Band B Block Licenses from CenturyTel, according to an article by Yankee Group. Meanwhile, the FCC plans to vote at its Sept. 28 meeting on whether or not it should look at spectrum transfers between companies and reevaluate rules on spectrum-screen.
The FCC may also look into whether or not it should treat lower-band and higher-band spectrum differently.
“As we covered recently, AT&T continues to gobble up spectrum, but are we nearing a backlash?" said Rich Karpinski, Yankee Group senior analyst. "It would certainly be ironic if following the squashing of its proposed T-Mobile merger, AT&T also saw its spectrum acquisition plans curbed by the FCC — especially after Verizon’s huge cable co spectrum buy-out won relatively speedy approval."
Karpinski added, "... don’t expect the game of spectrum musical chairs to slow down until the music ends —or the FCC turns it off — and we can fully determine who is left without a chair to sit on."
AT&T wants the spectrum to boost capacity and spectral efficiency, especially for LTE services, according to FierceWireless. This spectrum covers 54 cellular market areas over 14 states, and if deals are approved, AT&T would hold a maximum of 55 MHz of spectrum below GHz in 25 of the markets involved.