What is next for Millimeter Wave Spectrum? Auction, Clear, Re-band,... February 26, 2018 17:39
Things are beginning to clear up now that we have the settlement between FiberTower and the FCC, which eliminated an average of 121 MHz of 24GHz spectrum that FiberTower could have provided to AT&T but FiberTower did provide AT&T most of the active and terminated licenses they wanted in the 39GHz band.
With Chairman Pai's comments at MWC 2018, it is clear that the FCC is targeting a 28-31GHz auction by the end of the year. This makes the most sense, since the ownership of the LMDS band is more "clean" than the 39GHz. Looking at the CMA Market Analysis from our Millimeter Wave - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool we can see that most of the spectrum that is in the FCC's hands is the LMDS B block (31,000 to 31,075MHz) and (31,225 to 31,300MHz). It appears that 150MHz of spectrum will be available in 23 of the Top 75 CMA markets. In addition, LMDS A block spectrum (1150Mz) will be available in 15 of the Top 100 CMA markets.
Chairman Pai's comment that 24GHz will be the second auction, also makes sense because the settlement with FiberTower cleared the 24GHz band except in a few western markets including parts of Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and California. This spectrum is currently licensed as 2 - 40MHz channels so these channels don't match up to the new band plan for 100 MHz channels.
It is unknown when the FCC will be able to auction the new 37GHz band with the remaining spectrum held in the 39GHz band. Below is a county-level view of the ownership of this band from the Spectrum Grid Module in our Millimeter Wave - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool. You can see the spectrum blocks controlled by the FCC in grey along with the spectrum that Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile each control. These channel allocations need to be shifted so that carriers own 200MHz contiguous blocks to match the new 37/39GHz band plan.
Looking at this same counties in our County Analysis module for Spectrum Depth, you can see that each carriers allotments aren't always in 200MHz increments which are the channel sizes for the new combined 37/39GHz. The carriers will have to figure out a plan to shift their holdings into 200MHz channels and the FCC will have to deal with fractional channel blocks and fractional counties, since the 39GHz licenses include rectangular licenses that overlap county boundaries.
FiberTower 24 GHz and 39 GHz Licenses (Active and Terminated) May 16, 2017 06:30
Allnet Insights' spectrum tools have historically only focused on spectrum licenses that are active or pending. As we compared the size of the FiberTower/AT&T transaction using our active license data, it was clear that FiberTower's terminated licenses make up a large percentage of the transaction. To allow our customers to evaluate the FiberTower transaction in terms of the nationwide scope and market by market effect, we have added the FiberTower terminated licenses to our FCC data set. Since it is not clear how many of the terminated licenses will actually be reinstated, we have not included the terminated licenses in our current or future holdings data until they are formally restored by the FCC.
Below we show FiberTower's active licenses compared to their terminated licenses in our Spectrum Grid for the 24 GHz band. FiberTower's active licenses use the FBT carrier code while the terminated licenses use the FTT carrier code. In this view FiberTower's active licenses only include the Chicago CMA counties while the terminated licenses cover Los Angeles county and all of the Philadelphia counties.
Looking at the 39GHz spectrum blocks, FiberTower's terminated licenses cover the A block channel for all of the New York counties and the H block for all of the New York counties that AT&T doesn't currently control.
AT&T | FiberTower | Straight Path 39GHz - Rectangular Area Licenses May 09, 2017 06:30
One of the important aspect to understand about the millimeter band spectrum is the different types of licenses that compromise the 39 GHz Band. One block of licenses were auctioned with Economic Area boundaries (similar to the AWS-3 Auction for H, I, and J licenses). The second block of licenses are referred to as "Rectangular Licenses". The rectangular licenses are defined by 4 latitude/longitude points making a rectangle. These licenses include 1 or more of the 39 GHz channels and the rectangles encroach on the Economic Area licenses in quite a few of the US major metro areas. Essentially the rectangular area licenses subtract license area and population from the Economic Area licenses.
Below is a map which reflects the active and terminated rectangular area licenses. The terminated licenses (in red) represent some of the licenses that AT&T and FiberTower are attempting to restore. The are also trying to restore a most of the 24 GHz licenses that FiberTowerhad terminated by the FCC. Straight Path's consent agreement with the FCC required them to cancel all of their rectangular licenses so those are not included in the map.
Cancelling the Straight Path licenses accomplished two purposes. First, it penalized Straight Path for lax controls on their construction and substantial service process. Second, it cleaned up the licensing boundaries for the spectrum the FCC still controls enabling the FCC to auction complete counties for more 39 GHz channels.
Looking at the Verizon Acquisition of XO's Millimeter Wave Spectrum August 16, 2016 08:30
For this blog post I am going to use some of the new features of the Millimeter Wave - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool, to break down Verizon's agreement to lease XO's Millimeter Wave Spectrum.
First of all, our data source for this analysis is the Future Holdings data which will reflect Verizon's future lease of XO's spectrum. Allnet's CMA Market Analysis Module details Verizon's spectrum holdings for each of the Top 20 CMA markets (below). From this analysis it is easy to see the markets where Verizon will have significant LMDS A (28 GHz) and LMDS B (31 GHz) spectrum. In addition, markets with out spectrum (Phoenix) and the limited markets with 39 GHz spectrum are easily identified.
CMA Market Analysis:
Next we will look at the State & National Analysis Module to determine the average spectrum depth across the Nation or at a State Level. Looking at the National Average Spectrum Depth, we can see that Verizon averages 576 MHz of millimeter wave spectrum with 511 MHz of that being LMDS A spectrum, 53 MHz being LMDS B spectrum and 12 MHz being 39 GHz spectrum.
State & National Analysis Module:
Last we will look at how many MHz-POPs are included and how they are distributed between each of the frequency blocks. Allnet's MHz-POPs Analysis Module clearly details that this transaction would provide Verizon over 180 billion MHz-POPs. 158 billion of those MHz-POPs are from the LMDS A frequency band, 16 billion from the LMDS B frequency band, and nearly 4 billion from the 39 GHz frequency band.
MHz-POPs Analysis Module: