Mobile Future

FCC Spectrum Auctions and Secondary Markets Policies

This Publication is Related to: Spectrum

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An Assessment of the Distribution of Spectrum Resources Under the Spectrum Screen

This report by Mobile Future analyzes the impact of the FCC’s case-by-case analysis of proposed spectrum holdings on the distribution of spectrum resources through auctions and secondary mark transactions over the last decade.

Mobile Future’s analysis shows that significant spectrum resources have flowed not only to all four nationwide carriers, but also to non-nationwide carriers, and to small and very small businesses.  The paper concludes that the FCC’s current policy approach has proven successful in meeting the spectrum needs of a diverse landscape of wireless competitors.

Specific conclusions of Mobile Future’s analysis:

  • There is no evidence that continuing to allow all wireless companies the opportunity to fully participate in spectrum auctions has prevented smaller carriers from acquiring the spectrum they need to compete.
  • There is an abundance of evidence from prior auctions and secondary market transactions that the FCC’s current approach of conducting case-by-case reviews of spectrum holdings has successfully balanced the public interest in encouraging a vibrant, innovative mobile marketplace and promoting a broad distribution of spectrum licenses.
  • Operators of all sizes have demonstrated over the past 10 years that they can successfully obtain spectrum via participation in auctions and secondary market transactions.
  • In light of the proven track record of the past 10 years, the FCC’s current policy of full auction participation, moderated by a case-by-case review of spectrum aggregation, is the most effective path to meeting the spectrum needs of a diverse wireless marketplace.