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T-Mobile, M2Z go another round in AWS debate

Wed, 10/08/2008 - 8:15am
Evan Koblentz, Wireless Week

T-Mobile has filed yet another critique of M2Z Networks’ plan to use AWS-3 spectrum to offer free, nationwide mobile WiMAX service.

T-Mobile said that M2Z was wrong to cite a study from the Office of Communications of the United Kingdom (OFCOM).

The OFCOM report, according to M2Z, supports the claim that no significant interference would occur between AWS-3 and incumbent AWS-1 networks such as T-Mobile’s. T-Mobile challenged that: “OFCOM’s analysis was based on assumptions that render it of little use to evaluating the harmful interference that would occur under the FCC’s proposed rules for the AWS-3 band.”

“The incompatibility of the OFCOM study with on-the-ground concerns for AWS operations in the United States is further compounded by the fact that OFCOM was specifically analyzing a European TDD band,” which is different from U.S. specifications, T-Mobile’s critique explained. “M2Z offers nothing to explain how OFCOM’ results could be applied to the AWS-3 band given these differences.”

M2Z CEO John Muleta last spoke about the controversy Oct. 1 at the 4G Executive Summit, while T-Mobile last issued a statement the same day.

Muleta said his company is preparing a reply to T-Mobile’s latest string of criticisms. However, M2Z still believes that T-Mobile, along with industry giants such as AT&T and the CTIA, are only trying to protect their profit margins against M2Z’s free service plans, with the interference issue just being a convenient distraction, he said.

Both companies are waiting for the FCC to have the final say. If the FCC determines that no harmful interference exists, then M2Z is free to bid on spectrum.

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