T-Mobile USA is making its case for the 700 MHz D-Block, telling lawmakers that the best approach is to auction off the D-Block solely for commercial purposes, with proceeds going toward the build-out of a nationwide public safety broadband network.

In testimony presented to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, T-Mobile USA vice president of government affairs Tom Sugrue reiterated T-Mobile’s desire that the government make at least an additional 200 MHz of spectrum below 3.5 GHz available for commercial services within five years in order to meet growing consumer demand for wireless services.

“It is critical to American consumers that service providers gain access to sufficient commercial spectrum to provide competitive wireless broadband services,” he said in a letter addressed to Rick Boucher (D-Va.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet, and Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), ranking member of the committee.

The letter acknowledges that there are numerous proposals before Congress and the Federal Communications Commission for handling the D-Block spectrum and notes the one put forth by the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) is a promising proposition that is worth consideration.

While it’s difficult to predict the exact revenues from a future auction, using the winning bids from the 700 MHz auction in 2008 as a starting point, the estimated proceeds from an auction of the D-Block could range from between $2 billion and $9 billion, depending on various factors like the band plan, licensing rules and the economy, Sugrue said in the written testimony.

T-Mobile, along with MetroPCS Communications, Leap Wireless International and the Rural Telecommunications Group, filed a letter last June with the FCC proposing their approach for the 700 MHz D-Block. AT&T and Verizon Wireless dominated Auction No. 73 in 2008, leaving many bidders empty-handed.

The CTIA is also calling for more spectrum for commercial purposes, saying carriers are facing a “brewing spectrum crisis.”

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•  T-Mobile pushes plan for D-Block
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