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Hesse petitions FCC chief on PCS spectrum

Tue, 08/14/2012 - 2:06pm
Maisie Ramsay, Wireless Week

Sprint CEO Dan Hesse is pushing the head of the FCC to move forward with a long-delayed auction of H-block and J-block PCS spectrum.

Hesse spoke with FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski by phone last week about the issue, according to ex parte documents made public on Monday.

The executive "encouraged the Commission to conclude the long-pending service rules proceeding for the PCS H-block and the nearby J-block, auction the spectrum through competitive bidding, and allow the license winners to deploy the currently idle spectrum for mobile broadband use."

An auction of PCS spectrum could benefit Sprint, since it is using PCS spectrum for its LTE network, and additional holdings in the band could provide additional capacity for the service. The PCS H-block is a paired 10 MHz portion of spectrum located adjacent to the G-block Sprint uses for its LTE network.

Sprint's LTE network is currently available in 15 cities, including Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Atlanta. It expects to launch in four more markets by Labor Day on Sept. 3.

Legislation enacted this spring directs the FCC to sell off the PCS H-block by 2015 unless the spectrum poses interference threats to existing PCS licensees, which include Sprint, Verizon Wireless and AT&T.

"Of the limited spectrum allocations available in the United States, only the PCS H-block is entirely cleared of incumbents, paired as expansion spectrum with the core PCS band and available for immediate wireless broadband use," Sprint said in its filing.

The FCC has given little indication about when it plans to finalize service rules for the PCS H-block and move forward with an auction. The spectrum was assigned for terrestrial broadband use about seven years ago.

Last week's meeting wasn't the first Sprint held with the FCC this summer to discuss an auction of the PCS H-block. Documents indicate the company's representatives have met with the Commission to discuss the issue on previous occasions, including meetings in June and July.

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