These graphs detail the peak capacity for downlink files and streaming video for the four major national wireless carriers plus Dish and USCellular. They illustrate the peak capacity on a market-by-market basis. In creating the graphs, I anticipate the usage of each wireless carrier’s total spectrum available, not just the spectrum they have dedicated to LTE at this time. These graphs allow you to see the significant capacity advantage that Sprint will have once they deploy their 2.5GHz spectrum. They also provide a market-by-market comparison of AT&T and Verizon capacity. You can see that AT&T has a capacity advantage versus Verizon in all Top 20 markets except Minneapolis-St. Paul. In addition, you can see the relatively low capacity that T-Mobile is able to offer and the capacity that Dish could provide after they launch a network.
I was able to construct these graphs by using Allnet Insights and Analytics Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool determine the number of LTE channels that each carrier’s spectrum can support.
Assuming that each LTE channel had the follow achievable LTE Peak Data Rates:
These rates were applied to each of the carriers LTE channels to create a total peak downlink throughput. For all EBS/BRS spectrum (Sprint’s 2.5GHz spectrum), I assumed TDD (Time Division Duplex) LTE operation and each channel’s throughput was reduced to 75% to reflect the 75:25 downlink to uplink ratio for TDD operation. TDD LTE utilizes a single radio channel to both transmit to the mobile device (downlink) and transmit from the mobile device (uplink). In TDD LTE timeslots, similar to the wedges on the Wheel of Fortune, carry either downlink traffic or uplink traffic during that time interval. Since internet traffic is typically 75% downlink and 25% uplink, US operators dedicate 75% of the wedges to downlink and 25% to uplink. Most US spectrum bands are configured for FDD (Frequency Division Duplex) LTE, which utilizes two radio channels, one to transmit to the mobile device (downlink), and one to transmit from the mobile device (uplink).
For this issue of “How does our data compare?” we will look at the following statement from Joan Marsh’s blog. Joan is AT&T's Vice President of Federal Regulatory.
"For AT&T, the restrictions will predominantly impact our ability to compete for spectrum in urban areas. Indeed, our preliminary analysis suggests that we will be restricted in all Top 50 markets except six (Cleveland, Phoenix, Virginia Beach, Charlotte, Raleigh and Greenville to be exact). The restrictions will therefore directly impact our ability to serve customers in the most data hungry markets like NY, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Baltimore-DC, Philadelphia, Boston and Dallas."
Using Allnet Insights’ Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool we are able to evaluate AT&T’s low band spectrum ownership for all US Partial Economic Area (PEA) market. For this evaluation, we want to see the markets where AT&T’s low band spectrum ownership is less than 45MHz. This would be a PEA market where AT&T would not expect restrictions in the Broadband Incentive Auction (600MHz).
For the Top 50 markets we have the same markets that Joan Marsh indicated in her blog. Also included in the screenshot is amount of low band spectrum that AT&T controls as well as its competitor’s spectrum holdings in the same markets. It is interesting to note that Verizon would be restricted in each of these 6 markets, and T-Mobile only has low band spectrum in 1 of these markets. In addition, we detail how the low band spectrum is divided between cellular spectrum and 700 MHz spectrum.
As we have demonstrated, our data provides similar results to AT&T’s analysis, but it also allows the other national wireless carriers (and over 600 smaller carriers) to be evaluated in the same manner.
Allnet Insights’ Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool provides county-level spectrum depth and LTE channel configurations, as well as Partial Economic Area (PEA), Economic Area (EA), and Cellular Market Area (CMA) market level spectrum depth evaluations.
Many have grown accustomed to using the FCC Spectrum Dashboard for quick and relatively simple access to spectrum ownership data. This was never a complete solution for spectrum ownership analysis because many frequency blocks (AWS-H, AWS-3, and AWS-4) were never available for query. There have been several blocks of data that have entirely disappeared (700MHz – D block) or been so reduced in quantity that what is left is highly questionable.
Recently, I went to the FCC Spectrum Dashboard to download a large block of spectrum data for analysis. To receive a large data file, the FCC has historically sent a link to a user input email address where the data can be downloaded. After 3 unsuccessful attempts, to receive the email links, I called the FCC support line and was informed that feature was indeed broken and would not be fixed. The customer support representative also indicated that the data available on the site had not been updated since 7/7/2014, over a year ago.
I think we can declare the FCC Spectrum Dashboard dead as a spectrum ownership tool. Since Allnet Insights tracks all spectrum transactions related to the mobile carrier frequencies, we know that since July 9, 2014 over 350 applications have been submitted changing the ownership or leasing on nearly 700 call signs. These numbers don’t include any of new AWS-3 call signs which include an additional 1,614 call signs. In all, the FCC Spectrum Dashboard has incorrect data for nearly 2000 call signs.Fortunately, AllNet Insights’ Spectrum Owners Analysis Tool and its National Carrier reports continue to provide the industry leading information on spectrum ownership through our carefully managed spectrum ownership database This database maintains the current licensee, lease, and future licensee for every block of US wireless carrier spectrum.