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Are AT&T and Verizon Leveraging Temporary Licenses for Millimeter 5G? April 2, 2019 17:44

Recently in our spectrum transaction tracking we discovered some Millimeter Wave Special Temporary Authority (STA) licenses that AT&T and Verizon have filed in the 39GHz band to conduct wideband testing and for AT&T it appears the spectrum will be used for a market launch later this year.  

To see what is going on, let's look at Verizon and AT&T's ownership of the 39GHz band in the Chicago PEA market (PEA003) with our Spectrum Grid module.  The Spectrum Grid modules is one of nineteen analysis modules in our Millimeter Wave - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool.  Below you can see the specific channels that AT&T and Verizon control.  This spectrum is still paired, meaning the lower channels are for uplink and the upper channels are for downlink.  It is apparent that Verizon and AT&T's channels are commingled and that neither carrier can utilize a channel larger than 150MHz (AT&T is limited to 50MHz).  You can see 4 channels that the FCC does control in the lower band, but these are not the channels that AT&T or Verizon requested in their STA.

They each requested channels in the new 37GHz band which will be auctioned later this year.  This spectrum is adjacent to the existing 39GHz licensed bands

The spectrum allocations that Verizon and AT&T have requested in Chicago are indicated below.

This allocation provides both AT&T and Verizon with 400MHz for wideband 5G.  For AT&T, this is likely the spectrum they will utilize for the Chicago market launch announced for later this year.  Verizon likely launched their 5G UWB network using the 28GHz L1 and L2 spectrum seen below, so this 37GHz allotment is likely for network testing.

We have highlighted the effect of the temporary licenses in the Chicago (PEA003).  We noted that AT&T has also requested STA licenses in Raleigh (PEA045), Oklahoma City (PEA039), Charlotte (PEA043) and Philadelphia (PEA006).  Verizon requested STA licenses in New York (PEA001), Cleveland (PEA014), Cincinnati (PEA025), and Tallahassee (PEA072)

 


39GHz - Auction 103 Reconfiguration Analysis - Number Blocks March 26, 2019 22:30

On March 21st, the FCC released a Notice of Procedures describing how existing 39GHz spectrum ownership below will be remapped to the new 39GHz configuration.  We thought it would be beneficial to see how the FCC arrived at their results.

Current Configuration:

Future Configuration:

The procedures the FCC announced will provide a route for the existing 39GHz owners to essentially trade-in their spectrum for vouchers that can be used in Auction 103.  The FCC published a summary of the aggregated holdings data for each of the 39GHz licensees so we decided to use the data from our Millimeter Wave - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool to show the underlying calculations.

We are able to use the data from our Millimeter Wave - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool to determine the aggregate MHz-POPs value for PEA003 (Chicago).  To find the aggregate MHz-POPs we must first find the MHz-POPs contribution for each of AT&T's licenses (call signs) in the Chicago market.  Below are each of the county MHz-POPs components for each call sign.  We have indicated whether the license covers the entire county or whether it is a partial license in the Full/Partial County column.  The county MHz-POPs component is found by multiplying the bandwidth for each call sign by the county population.  The total aggregate MHz-POPs is the sum of the county MHz-POPs for all of AT&T's licenses.  Using this process, we have found AT&T's aggregate MHz-POPs to by 2,817,188,800 compared to the FCC's results of 2,815,434,000.

Market CallSign Channel Block Full/Partial County State County Bandwidth County Population MHz-POPs
PEA003 WRBI252 1A Full IL Cook County 50 5,194,675 259,733,750
Chicago DuPage County 50 916,924 45,846,200
Grundy County 50 50,063 2,503,150
Kane County 50 515,269 25,763,450
Kankakee County 50 113,449 5,672,450
Kendall County 50 114,736 5,736,800
Lake County 50 703,462 35,173,100
McHenry County 50 308,760 15,438,000
Will County 50 677,560 33,878,000
IN Lake County 50 496,005 24,800,250
LaPorte County 50 111,467 5,573,350
Porter County 50 164,343 8,217,150
WRBI253 1B Full IL Cook County 50 5,194,675 259,733,750
DuPage County 50 916,924 45,846,200
Grundy County 50 50,063 2,503,150
Kane County 50 515,269 25,763,450
Kankakee County 50 113,449 5,672,450
Kendall County 50 114,736 5,736,800
Lake County 50 703,462 35,173,100
McHenry County 50 308,760 15,438,000
Will County 50 677,560 33,878,000
IN Lake County 50 496,005 24,800,250
LaPorte County 50 111,467 5,573,350
Porter County 50 164,343 8,217,150
WRBI590 4A Full IL Cook County 50 5,194,675 259,733,750
DuPage County 50 916,924 45,846,200
Grundy County 50 50,063 2,503,150
Kane County 50 515,269 25,763,450
Kankakee County 50 113,449 5,672,450
Kendall County 50 114,736 5,736,800
Lake County 50 703,462 35,173,100
McHenry County 50 308,760 15,438,000
Will County 50 677,560 33,878,000
IN Lake County 50 496,005 24,800,250
LaPorte County 50 111,467 5,573,350
Porter County 50 164,343 8,217,150
WRBI591 4B Full IL Cook County 50 5,194,675 259,733,750
DuPage County 50 916,924 45,846,200
Grundy County 50 50,063 2,503,150
Kane County 50 515,269 25,763,450
Kankakee County 50 113,449 5,672,450
Kendall County 50 114,736 5,736,800
Lake County 50 703,462 35,173,100
McHenry County 50 308,760 15,438,000
Will County 50 677,560 33,878,000
IN Lake County 50 496,005 24,800,250
LaPorte County 50 111,467 5,573,350
Porter County 50 164,343 8,217,150
WRBJ298 8A Full IL Cook County 50 5,194,675 259,733,750
DuPage County 50 916,924 45,846,200
Grundy County 50 50,063 2,503,150
Kane County 50 515,269 25,763,450
Kankakee County 50 113,449 5,672,450
Kendall County 50 114,736 5,736,800
Lake County 50 703,462 35,173,100
McHenry County 50 308,760 15,438,000
Will County 50 677,560 33,878,000
IN Lake County 50 496,005 24,800,250
LaPorte County 50 111,467 5,573,350
Porter County 50 164,343 8,217,150
WRBJ299 8B Full IL Cook County 50 5,194,675 259,733,750
DuPage County 50 916,924 45,846,200
Grundy County 50 50,063 2,503,150
Kane County 50 515,269 25,763,450
Kankakee County 50 113,449 5,672,450
Kendall County 50 114,736 5,736,800
Lake County 50 703,462 35,173,100
McHenry County 50 308,760 15,438,000
Will County 50 677,560 33,878,000
IN Lake County 50 496,005 24,800,250
LaPorte County 50 111,467 5,573,350
Porter County 50 164,343 8,217,150
WRBK275 13A Partial IL Kane County 50 21,235 1,061,750
Kendall County 50 13,076 653,800
McHenry County 50 37,438 1,871,900
13B Partial IL Kane County 50 21,235 1,061,750
Kendall County 50 13,076 653,800
McHenry County 50 37,438 1,871,900
2,817,188,800

 

The Market MHz-POPs value is found by multiplying the new 39GHz channel size (100MHz) by the total population of the Chicago PEA.  

Market Bandwidth PEA Population Market MHz-POPs
PEA003 (Chicago) 100 9,366,713 936,671,300

 

The next calculation provides the number of blocks that AT&T is authorized to receive in the 39GHz auction by relinquishing their current licenses.  Our analysis indicates that AT&T will start with slightly more than 3 - 100MHz channel blocks in Chicago before the auction starts.

Market Aggregate MHz-POPs Market MHz-POPs Channel Blocks
PEA003 (Chicago) 2,817,188,800 936,671,300 3.00766

 

 


Upper Microwave - New Channels and New Call Signs (39GHz) September 4, 2018 00:00

In our September 2018 Millimeter Wave - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool, we have incorporated the FCC's re-licensing of the 39GHz into the new Upper Microwave Flexible Use Service.  In making this change the FCC issued new call signs and leases for all of the 50 x 50 MHz channels.  The call signs have been reissued on a Partial Economic Area (PEA) market frame work.  Previously these licenses were issued on a Economic Area (EA) basis. The original channels were lettered A through N.  Now they are numbered 1-14 with the A designation for the uplink channel and the B designation for the downlink channel.

The FCC reissued this spectrum with a different call sign and channel number for each of the original channel blocks.  Issuing a separate call signs will make it easier to combine the 2-50MHz blocks into 1 -100MHz block as indicated in the Fourth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking below.

See Reducing Encumbrances in the 39 GHz Band

For example from the chart below, the 1-A and 1-B channel for Butts County, GA.

Old Records:

Market:  BEA040 - Atlanta, GA-AL-NC

Call Sign:  WPQV559

Channel A

New Records:

Market:  PEA011 - Atlanta, GA

Channel: 1-A

Call Sign: WRBI208

Channel: 1-B

Call Sign: WRBI209

The mapping of original call sign / channel to the new call sign / channel is available in our Web Spectrum Viewer, Transactions Menu.


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 9, 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: