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FCC Adopts Revised Mobile Spectrum Holdings Policies

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Released: May 15, 2014

Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information 202 / 418-0500

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This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action.
See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

May 15, 2014
Cecilia Sulhoff, (202) 418-0587



Washington, D.C. – Today, the Federal Communications Commission adopted a Report and Order
revising rules for its mobile spectrum holding policies. Access to spectrum, particularly low-band
spectrum, is essential for the provision of mobile wireless services. Today’s action will promote more
competition in more markets, and facilitate consumers having more choices of wireless providers, lower
prices, and higher quality mobile service.
The Commission’s decision addressed mobile spectrum policies in three interrelated areas.
First, with respect to reviews of proposed transactions, the Commission added and removed spectrum to
the screen to reflect spectrum that is currently suitable and available for mobile broadband. If a proposed
transaction would result in a wireless provider holding approximately 1/3 or more of available spectrum
licenses in a given market, that transaction will continue to trigger a more detailed, case-by-case
competitive analysis by the Commission.
Second, with respect to transactions involving low-band (below 1 GHz) spectrum, the Commission will
continue to use a case-by-case review of these transactions. Aggregation of approximately 1/3 or more of
available low-band spectrum will be an “enhanced factor” in the competitive analysis of a proposed
Third, with respect to auctions, the Commission set policies for the upcoming AWS-3 and Broadcast
Television Spectrum Incentive Auction. Specifically, the Commission set no auction-specific spectrum
aggregation limits for qualified bidders in the AWS-3 auction, regardless of their existing spectrum
holdings. In addition, the Commission will not require any post-auction divestitures.
The Commission set reasonable spectrum aggregation rules that promote competition for the Broadcast
Television Spectrum Incentive Auction, tailored to encourage participation by both small and large
providers and to ensure no one or two providers can “run the table”. The Commission will make a
significant amount of spectrum available to all bidders in all markets. To promote competition, the rules
establish a market-based reserve of no more than 30 megahertz of spectrum targeted for providers that
hold less than 1/3 of available low-band spectrum in a license area.
Finally, the Commission clarified that the rules it adopted today are based on current market structure,
and that it reserves the right to modify the rules based on significant market changes, including proposed
Action by the Commission May 15, 2014, by Report and Order (FCC 14-63). Chairman Wheeler and
Commissioner Rosenworcel with Commissioner Clyburn approving in part and concurring in part and

Commissioners Pai and O’Rielly dissenting. Chairman Wheeler, Commissioners Clyburn, Rosenworcel,
Pai and O’Rielly issuing statements.
News and information about the Federal Communications Commission is available at

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