Earlier this month, Verizon filed to acquire all of Orion Wireless' paired AWS-3 spectrum. This is Verizon's third acquisition of AWS-3 spectrum in the last six months. Last year Verizon filed to acquire AWS-3 spectrum from Cypress Cellular and Blue Ridge Wireless.
The map below depicts all of Orion Wireless' AWS-3 licenses. 15 of Orion Wireless' licenses are for the AWS-3 G block and one for the AWS-3 I block. This acquisition provides Verizon an additional 10 MHz of spectrum (5x5) in the in the areas where only Orion only controlled one license and 20 MHz of spectrum in two Minnesota counties where they control both the G and I blocks.
It is also interesting to look at how this spectrum will fit with Verizon's existing Band 66 spectrum. Below is an output from our Spectrum Grid where you can see all of Orion Wireless' spectrum (OWL). In most counties, the spectrum is not contiguous with Verizon's existing spectrum assignments, but in 5 Iowa counties, the Orion Wireless spectrum will provide Verizon with a larger second LTE channel ranging from 10 to 15 MHz.
Allnet Insights & Analytics is pleased to announce that our Millimeter Wave - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool has been updated with the Auction 103 results and is available for purchase.
Below is a sample of the Spectrum Grid Analysis Module, highlighting the 37/39 GHz spectrum ownership for the New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago CMA markets.
The Millimeter Wave - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool contains 20 additional analysis modules including:
With our Web Spectrum Viewer subscription, maps for each carrier's total Millimeter Wave spectrum depth and their spectrum depth for each frequency band are available. Below is a map for the 47GHz spectrum that Sprint won in Auction 103.
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With the release of our March 2020 Mobile Carrier and Millimeter Wave - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tools we have included a new analysis module which details the frequency band ownership for eight user selected carriers. With the results for Auction 103 expected later this week, we are including the charts for the Millimeter Wave frequency bands. These charts detail each carrier's total ownership in a band, measured in terms of MHz-POPs.
Looking at the 28GHz chart, you can see that Verizon owns 73% of the band while T-Mobile controls 14%. The 37GHz, 39GHz, and 47GHz slides reflect the FCC controlling 100% of each spectrum band. In the second chart, reflecting our February 2020 data, the spectrum held in the 39GHz band, pre-auction is indicated. Verizon controlled 39% of this band prior to the auction and AT&T controlled 27%. All of this spectrum was traded back into the FCC before Auction 103 started, so it will be interesting to see how all of the carrier's bidding activity affect these charts, once the auction results are posted.
We anticipate releasing a mid-month release of our Millimeter Wave - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool within two days of the FCC results announcement.
Millimeter Wave Frequency Band Ownership (March 2020):
Millimeter Wave Frequency Band Ownership (February 2020):
Many times customers ask how much does spectrum information change as they decide between our monthly subscriptions and one-time purchases. Many customers consider one-time purchases either annually or following an auction completion.
In the chart below, we have indicated the number of database record updates that we have determined for each week's FCC filed transactions. There are three peaks from 2019. January 2019 represents Verizon's filing to acquire Straightpath's LMDS and 39GHz spectrum. June 2019 highlights the posting of the Auction 102 licenses and October/November 2019 includes the Auction 103 licenses. Outside of these auction result periods, most weeks have between 100 and 400 licensing record updates. So in a typical month there may be between 400 and 1600 licensing record updates.
A licensing record update may only update one block of spectrum for one county, or it may update multiple blocks of spectrum for an entire market (EA, BTA, PEA, or MTA)
Clearly, there are alot more changes than you would expect.
Last week, Verizon filed to acquire 2 Lightspeed's 28 GHz spectrum assets. This is the 8th acquisition that Verizon has filed, targeting the 28 GHz spectrum held by companies prior to Auction 102. The map below depicts where 2 Lightspeed owns spectrum. Verizon is only acquiring the L1 and L2 (850 MHz) for the counties highlighted in orange, leaving 2 Lightspeed with 300 MHz of LMDS A spectrum in these counties. In the yellow counties, 2 Lightspeed still will own the 150 MHz of the LMDS B spectrum. These allocations are detailed below from our Millimeter Wave - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool, Company Analysis Module.
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%.
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.
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.
Cass Cable Licenses:
One of the benefits of Allnet Insights' Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tools, is the repository of monthly releases that we have accumulated. With the USA Mobile Carrier Tool we have monthly versions going back to July 2012. Each of our historical tools details spectrum ownership and the variety of spectrum depth analysis modules that were supported at that time.
I thought it would be interesting to look back at the spectrum ownership landscape from July 2012. Looking first at our Spectrum Grid for low band spectrum, you can see that Verizon still holds the 700MHz B block licenses that were sold later to AT&T. In addition, Verizon also holds the 700MHz A block licenses that were sold to T-Mobile.
Looking next at the lower mid band spectrum, former licensees like SpectrumCo, Leap Wireless, and MetroPCS still control blocks of AWS-1 and PCS spectrum. This view of spectrum ownership also allows you to see how Verizon consolidated their AWS-1 spectrum holdings with SpectrumCo's holdings into a 20 MHz block through spectrum license trades with T-Mobile and their MetroPCS licenses. Today Verizon controls the lower 20 MHz of the AWS-1 band and T-Mobile controls the upper 25 MHz in the New York / New Jersey counties.
Looking at the upper mid band spectrum we first see all of the original WCS spectrum licensees: Horizon Wi-Com, Nextwave, Sprint, Comcast, and San Diego Gas & Electric. Clearwire also appears in the upper mid band Spectrum Grid with their 2.5GHz spectrum holdings.
It is interesting then to look at our County Analysis module to see the detail on each carrier's spectrum depth. It is noteworthy to mention that Verizon has 119 MHz of spectrum in most of the New York / New Jersey counties with AT&T trailing with 91 MHz of spectrum. Verizon still sits with rough the same amount of spectrum although they replaced all of the 700MHz spectrum they sold to AT&T and T-Mobile with SpectrumCo spectrum and AWS-3 spectrum while AT&T has growth while AT&T has grown their spectrum depth in the same counties to 161 MHz.
Today, Fierce Wireless had an article examining Rogers 5G roll out announcement. The article states that Rogers will initially deploy using 2.5 GHz spectrum followed by 600 MHz and 3.5 GHz. Although we are familiar with these bands from a US spectrum allocation, it is important to understand several of the differences between the Canadian allocations and the US allocations.
First, we are going to look at the 2.5 GHz band using the Spectrum Grid from our Canadian Mobile Carrier - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool. Canada's 2.5 GHz spectrum is configured to the international standard with paired (FDD) LTE Band 7 and TDD band 38/41. In each of the 4 deployment cities, Rogers controls FDD and TDD spectrum. I believe that Rogers will be deploying the TDD/Band 41 spectrum blocks due to its compatibility with Sprint's 5G deployment and the Band 41 ecosystem. Rogers has 20 MHz of spectrum available in each of their roll out markets which should deliver about 30% of the speed performance that Sprint is achieving on their 5G launches.
Second, Rogers will roll out 5G using their 600 MHz low band spectrum. This spectrum is configured identically to the US allocation with 7 x 10 MHz FDD channels in LTE Band 71. Rogers has 10 MHz channels available in all of their roll out markets except Toronto where they have a 20 MHz channel available.
Third, Rogers will roll out 5G in Canada's 3.5 GHz band. In the US, this spectrum is primarily allocated as CBRS spectrum requiring the use of a Spectrum Access System (SAS) with multiple users. The entire CBRS band is 150 MHz while the Canadian 3.5 GHz band is 200 MHz broken up into 20 - 10 MHz (TDD) channels. Canada will be licensing all of this spectrum to carriers, while the US model is shared spectrum. Since the 3.5 GHz auction has not occurred, Rogers spectrum ownership in these markets is unknown. The 3.5 GHz auction will occur sometime in 2020.
Yesterday, Verizon filed to acquire all of Blue Ridge Wireless' paired AWS-3 spectrum. This is Verizon's second acquisition of AWS-3 spectrum in the last two months. Last month Verizon filed to acquire AWS-3 spectrum from Cypress Cellular. Let's look at the details for the Blue Ridge Wireless purchase with Allnet's Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tools. We will look at the geographic coverage in our Web Spectrum Viewer - Mapping Module, MHz-POPs and Licensed POPs in our Mobile Carrier - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool.
The map below depicts all of Blue Ridge Wireless' AWS-3 licenses. Verizon is only purchasing Blue Ridge's paired spectrum licenses, leaving the uplink only spectrum (A1 and B1) with Blue Ridge.
In the graphic below, we show the amount of the US population, that each channel of Blue Ridge's AWS-3 spectrum licenses can reach. Clearly, the A1/B1 uplink channels represent the majority of the licensed population Blue Ridge controls. The collection of G channel licenses reach 2.6 million people.
From our MHz-POPs summary below, Blue Ridge Wireless licenses represent 108 million MHz-POPs. This includes their paired and unpaired spectrum. The Mobile Carrier - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool also includes a detailed MHz-POPs module highlighting the MHz-POPs controlled in each county by frequency band.
Last week, Verizon filed applications to acquire the 28GHz (LMDS) spectrum held by two additional companies; Sunshine LMDS and Virginia Tech Foundation. We are using our recently released, Web Spectrum Viewer - Mapping Module to illustrate the spectrum owned by each of these companies. As with Verizon's other recent 28GHz acquisitions these transactions involve the Local Multipoint Distribution Service (LMDS) spectrum that was owned prior to Auction 101. The first map below illustrates the license area for Sunshine LMDS. Verizon is only acquiring the L1 and L2 channel spectrum from Sunshine LMDS. The spectrum depths on the map indicate that Sunshine controls the L1/L2 channels (850MHz) and the remaining A block LMDS channels (300MHz). The county detail for Sunshine's spectrum is indicated in the second map.
Sunshine LMDS - County Detail:
The second transaction involves Virginia Tech Foundation. In this transaction, Verizon is acquiring rights to both the L1/L2 channels as well as the remaining A block LMDS spectrum. In the county detail map, the counties where Virginia Tech only controls the L1/L2 channels are visible in light tan color, while the markets where they also control the remaining A block LMDS channels are in a dark tan. The FCC controls the remaining A block LMDS channels in the counties where Virginia Tech Foundation only controls the L1/L2 channels.
Virginia Tech Foundation:
Virginia Tech Foundation - County Detail:
Allnet Insights & Analytics is pleased to announce the availability of our Mobile Carrier and Millimeter Wave Spectrum Mapping Modules. The Mapping Modules operates within our Web Spectrum Viewer to provide National maps, including all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands; along with county-level details. The maps provide insights into each carrier and licensee's total spectrum, and spectrum in each frequency band. For the mobile carrier bands (sub 6GHz), the low band, lower-mid band, and upper-mid band spectrum depths are also provided. Below are maps that show various aspects of AT&T's Sub 6GHz and Millimeter Wave Spectrum. The final map zooms in on AT&T's 24GHz spectrum in Colorado to show the county detail. Selecting an individual county (Garfield in our example) displays the actual spectrum depth in the legend box.
AT&T Total Sub 6GHz Spectrum Depth:
AT&T Low Band Spectrum Depth:
AT&T Cellular Spectrum Depth:
AT&T Total Millimeter Wave Spectrum Depth:
AT&T 24GHz Spectrum Depth:
AT&T 24GHz Spectrum Depth (County Detail):
This week Verizon filed to acquire 40 AWS-3 licenses from Cypress Cellular. I thought this would give us a good opportunity to gain strategic insights into how this acquisition fits with Verizon's existing spectrum portfolio.
First up, a national map of Cypress Cellular's AWS-3 spectrum. Most counties have 10MHz of paired spectrum (5x5) while 3 counties have 20MHz of paired spectrum (10x10).
To see how Cypress Cellular's channels fit with Verizon's existing AWS-1 and AWS-3 spectrum, we use the Spectrum Grid modules from the Mobile Carrier - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool. To find all of the counties where Cypress control AWS-3 spectrum, we auto filter on Cypress's 3 character code (CYC). This allows us to see that on the counties displayed, Cypress owns the G block channels. It also allows us to determine if the spectrum is contiguous with any other Verizon spectrum and whether Verizon has any other AWS-3 in that county. In the Florida counties shown, Verizon will increase the LTE channel size in the AWS-3 band from 10MHz to 15MHz with this acquisition.
Another way we can evaluate this acquisition is to look at the county spectrum depths in the County Analysis Module. From this data, we can see that Verizon lacks AWS-3 spectrum in most of the counties shown in this view. In some counties Verizon will have a total of 30MHz of spectrum after the transaction closes. All of this analysis focuses on 36 of the 191 counties involved in this transaction.
Allnet Insights & Analytics is excited to announce an expansion of our industry leading spectrum ownership analysis products to cover the Mobile Carrier (600MHz to 3.7GHz) frequency bands for Mexico. We are releasing not only a October 2019 new release, but historical monthly releases going back to June 2016. The Mobile Carrier Tool not only provides the spectrum allocation details for all of the Mexican Mobile Carrier spectrum but it provides 21 different analysis modules and charts to analyze and compare each wireless carrier's spectrum assets by channel, market, frequency band, band classification, and LTE band class. Each carrier's licensed population and MHz-POPs values are included as well.
The Mexican Spectrum Grid details the current and future spectrum ownership for each municipio (county). The municipio areas can be seen on the map below which indicates Ultravision's Broadband Radio (2.5GHz) holdings.
Below is the Mexican Spectrum Grid for the Mobile Carrier low band spectrum. All of the 600MHz spectrum is currently controlled by the Federal Telecommunications Institute (IPF) leading up to an early 2020 auction.
This month, millimeter wave spectrum licenses have begun to trade again. Both USCellular and Verizon have filed to acquire multiple licenses from several carriers as depicted on the maps below:
Note: All of these licenses were held prior to Auction 101.
With Verizon's announcement last week concerning 5G NFL stadiums, we decided to look at Verizon's 28GHz spectrum allocations, using the Millimeter Wave - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool, to determine the 5GNR channel sizes they could offer in each market. As seen below, Verizon launched stadiums in 4 markets where they are limited to 200MHz channels, while the remaining stadiums are in markets with the full allotment of 400MHz. It would be interesting to know if Verizon has a more restricted demo in the 200MHz markets or whether the full demo exposes the capacity limitations of those markets.
Recently there was an article in Fierce Wireless discussing the ability for Sprint and T-Mobile to combine their PCS spectrum for larger LTE channels. The article discussed a few of the largest markets, but we will use our LTE/NR Channel Analysis Module from the Mobile Carrier - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool to evaluate every US county. We will be determining the increase in the maximum LTE/NR channel size before the merger and after the merger.
In our tools, the analysis starts with the Spectrum Grid, where the ownership of contiguous blocks of spectrum can be seen, for each county. Prior to the merger, the spectrum held by T-Mobile and Sprint in the Houston CMA market counties appears below:
After the merger, the Spectrum Grid will look like this:
As you can see, T-Mobile increases their maximum channel size by combining the PCS-A and PCS-D channels.
This can be seen in a tabular format in the LTE/NR Channel Analysis Module before the merger:
and after the merger. Looking in the PCS (n25) columns, 20MHz is indicated as the new maximum channel size. For the map below, Houston will show a 5MHz channel size increase because it moved from 15MHz to 20MHz.
Below we have mapped the increase of PCS channel size for T-Mobile post merger. This only indicates if the maximum channel size will increase post merger, it does not indicate if New T-Mobile will hold additional PCS channels that are not contiguous with the maximum channel.
From the map, you will note that the San Francisco area, doesn't see an increase in T-Mobile's maximum LTE channel size. Because Sprint's spectrum is at the top and bottom of the band while T-Mobile's is in the middle.
All of the major carriers and USCellular have traded spectrum in the AWS and PCS bands to consolidate their spectrum holdings into the largest channels. Although Verizon and T-Mobile could exchange T-Mobile's PCS-A spectrum for Verizon's PCS-C, I doubt that this exchange will be made because it only benefits T-Mobile.
Last month, Telus applied and was approved to lease part of the AWS-4 spectrum band in Canada from Terrestar. Terrestar owns both parts (uplink and downlink) of the AWS-4 band for all of Canada. In Canada, the AWS-4 band is still configured for duplex (FDD) operation where in the US, Dish received approval to operate all of the spectrum for downlink.
Telus will be leasing the spectrum in the most urban areas of Canada, not including Toronto with typically 20MHz spectrum leases. Telus is leasing this spectrum over a population of 13 million, roughly 38% of Canada's population. Below are geographic maps indicating each of the areas where Telus will be leasing spectrum. In Canada spectrum leases are called subordinations of licenses. We will discuss why this spectrum is important to Telus below with outputs from our Canadian Mobile Carrier - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool.
From the Spectrum Grid below, Telus is acquiring the downlink AWS-4 spectrum which lies within Band 66 which is now widely deployed in the US for both the AWS-1 and AWS-3 bands. This will provide immediate service improvements once the network is constructed because handsets have been supporting Band 66 for several years. The remaining part of the AWS-4 spectrum (for uplink), would fall into Band 23, which has little to no handset support.
We can see a second reason for acquiring this spectrum by looking at the Company Analysis module, detailing Telus's spectrum holdings in each of these Tier 4 service areas.
In many of these Tier 4 service areas (similar to US counties), Telus has limited or no BRS (2.5GHz) spectrum. The BRS spectrum they do control in these markets is paired (FDD) Band 7 rather than the TDD Band 41 that Sprint controls in the US. Overall, this spectrum acquisition provides Telus with an immediate capacity improvement since they can expand their Band 66 downlink capacity by 10 or 20MHz.
In July, the FCC released their report and order for their plans to auction the white space 2.5 GHz spectrum. Using our Mobile Carrier - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool we have created a couple of images to illustrated the auction of the spectrum in a rural county and the auction of spectrum in a urban county.
Our rural example focuses on Wayne County, Iowa. Wayne County has a population of nearly 6,500.
In the image above, we indicate the primary spectrum ownership for each channel in Wayne, IA. Sprint is the spectrum owner for all of the BRS (Broadband Radio Service) channels and the FCC is the spectrum owner for all of the EBS (Educational Broadcast Service) channels. We have highlighted in the Bandwidth row, the different channels the FCC has defined for auction. The red highlights are for the 49.5MHz channel, the green highlights indicate the channels included in the 50.5MHz channel and the blue highlights indicate the channels included in 17.5MHz channel. The 17.5MHz channel consists of 3 x 5.5MHz contiguous channels and 3 x 0.33MHz guard band channels.
In the area below each channel we indicate in green, the available population that can be licensed for each channel as a percentage. Clearly, purchasing any of the 3 channels (49.5, 50.5, 17.5) at auction would provide a carrier with the ability to service 100% of the population with each of the component 2.5GHz channels.
Our urban example focuses on McHenry County, IL. McHenry County has a population of nearly 310,000. McHenry County is one of the 6 counties that constitute the Chicago CMA Market.
In the urban example, the carrier that purchases the red (49.5MHz) channel would be able build a network reaching 20% of the population with the A1, A2, and A3 channels (16.5MHz), they would be able to reach 80% of the population with the B1, B2, B3, and C3 channels, and they can reach the entire population with the C1 and C2 channels. The auction winning carrier will have to coordinate their operations for all but the C1 and C2 channels around the geographic license areas that Sprint already controls.
In July we expanded the analysis capabilities of our Mobile Carrier and Millimeter Wave - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tools to include 5G New Radio(NR) Band Analysis for each of the 3GPP supported bandwidths in each US NR band class.
First, in the Mobile Carrier Tool, we are supporting both the uplink and downlink NR bands separately for bands that provide Frequency Division (FDD) operation. This analysis module outputs the largest channel size (for both uplink and downlink) that a carrier could deploy in their 5G/LTE uplink carrier aggregation scheme or their downlink carrier aggregation scheme. Below in the downlink analysis for AT&T you can see the maximum channel sizes for n12 band spectrum (700MHz A/B/C) versus their n29 band spectrum (700MHz D/E),which is downlink only, and their n14 band spectrum (FirstNet); for each county in the New York Cellular Market Area (CMA).
Similarly, the uplink analysis indicates the maximum uplink channel size for all of the uplink spectrum.
The n41 band spectrum that Sprint's controls (2.5GHz) is seen in the Time Division Duplex(TDD) section. The analysis tool determines the largest contiguous channel that Sprint can deploy with their leases/owned spectrum including the mid-band segment guard bands. From the results below, Sprint can configure 80MHz 5G/LTE channels in two New York counties and they can configure a 60MHz channel in one additional New York county. The remaining counties are limited to carrier aggregation of 20MHz channels.
In the Millimeter Wave - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool, all of the spectrum is configured to Time Division Duplex(TDD) operation. Below, you can see the different bandwidths that T-Mobile can deploy using their 24GHz or 28GHz spectrum in the New York counties. Each of the 3GPP standardized bandwidths of 400, 200, 100, and 50MHz are detailed for each spectrum band.
Today, the FCC released results for Auction 101 (28 GHz) and Auction 102 (24 GHz). These results are now posted in our Millimeter Wave - Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool. The Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool provides 19 analysis modules to analyze each carrier's ownership in each of the millimeter wave bands. These modules include a spectrum ownership grid (below), seven different spectrum depth analysis modules, a MHz-POPs analysis module, and 3 licensed POPs analysis modules.
To summarize some of the auction results, we updated pie charts that were originally published in partnership with Fierce Wireless. These charts represent each carrier's MHz-POPs in terms of the country total.