News

Five Important Ways to Look at Spectrum - Featuring the MVDDS (12.2 GHz) Spectrum January 30, 2020 14:36

What is the best report to use to understand the ownership for each block of spectrum or each carrier's spectrum portfolio?  I am going to walk through five of my favorites, using the Multichannel Video and Data Distribution Service (MVDDS) band as an example of a band where the spectrum owners and their relative ownership is not widely known.  The MVDDS 5G Coalition has been pressing the FCC since 2016 to make the 12.2-12.7 GHz band available for 5G. 

The first place to start is looking at the National Spectrum Depth averages.  This can be done with our National Weighted Average Spectrum Depth charts.    The chart below describes the average amount of spectrum that the 8 primary carriers own in the MVDDS band.  Since this band includes 500 MHz of spectrum in all markets, Dish is the majority spectrum holder, controlling 377 MHz of spectrum on average.  Because the National Weighted Average Spectrum Depth charts include of all of the millimeter wave spectrum bands, it is clear that Dish is the only MVDDS licensee that also owns traditional millimeter wave spectrum.

National Average Spectrum Depth:

The population weighted average spectrum depths are influenced significantly by the amount of spectrum held in population centers, so looking at Licensed Population values will provide insight into how much of the US population can be reached with each carrier's MVDDS licenses.  From the chart below, Dish's licenses can reach 75% of the  US population, with RS Access reaching 13%, and Go Long Wireless reaching nearly 5%.

Licensed Populations:

The next view, is to looking at the Top 25 or Top 50 population centers.  Using the CMA Market Analysis Module, in our Millimeter Wave - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool, it is easily seen that Dish controls the MVDDS spectrum in all of the Top 25 CMA markets except for Baltimore MD, where the spectrum is owned by Go Long Wireless.

Top 25 CMA Markets:

Next, to look at this spectrum band from a valuation perspective, it makes sense to detail the MHz-POPs that each carrier controls.  MHz-POPs is calculated by multiplying the size of the spectrum (500 MHz) times the population of each county where it is controlled.  Totaling these values for all counties provides the national band ownership quantity.

MHz-POPs:

Geographic Maps are fairly self explanatory.  Maps highlight areas not served, overserved, and highlight geographically adjacent markets that would be difficult to identify in the tabular results we have discussed above. Included in the maps below is a map detailing the licenses that the FCC now controls.  These typically include cancelled and terminated licenses.

Geographic Maps:

Dish Licenses:

Cass Cable Licenses:

FCC Licenses:

RSA Access: