‘I Love It When a Plan Comes Together’

I love it when a plan comes together” — kind of like what the folks at AT&T Wireless are probably thinking these days.

By Lawrence R. Krevor

Some of us are old enough to remember the actual origins of that phrase, now an ever-popular internet meme. In one of the most famous lines from the mid-1980s television show “The A-Team,” starring “Dancing with the Stars” icon “Mr. T,” A-Team leader Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith (George Peppard) declares, “I love it when a plan comes together” — kind of like what the folks at AT&T Wireless are probably thinking these days.

Why? Because FirstNet, the independent authority Congress created to develop, build and operate a nationwide broadband network for first responders, just awarded the contract for doing so to AT&T. It’s the culmination of a plan hatched in 2010 to make sure that a block of very valuable commercial spectrum stayed out of the hands of AT&T’s smaller wireless competitors.

Back then, the 700 MHz band, newly available for auction when broadcasters relocated as part of the Digital Television Transition, was the prized most sought-after “beachfront” spectrum for improving wireless network coverage. And the “belle of the ball” was a slice called the D Block, the best 700 MHz spectrum still available after the government auctioned off the rest. No bidder met the Federal Communications Commission’s initial D Block auction requirement, however, because it came with an uncapped obligation to build a public safety network in the D Block and adjacent 700 MHz public safety channels. So when the D Block auction failed, interested parties urged the FCC to drop the public safety obligation and re-auction the D Block as regular commercial spectrum. Carriers with little or no “beachfront” spectrum, such as T-Mobile and Sprint, liked the idea, as did the big 700 MHz auction winners: Verizon and AT&T.

This opinion article was written by Lawrence R. Krevor and appears in morningconsult.com.

To read the entire article please click on the button below.

READ FULL ARTICLE

Lawrence R. Krevor is senior counsel at Perkins Coie and a former attorney at the FCC and Sprint focusing on spectrum. These are his personal views and not those of Perkins Coie.

print

Be the first to comment on "‘I Love It When a Plan Comes Together’"

Leave a comment