Posts Tagged ‘PCS’

Verizon Wireless recently filed paperwork with the Federal Communications Commission seeking permission to buy the assets of Golden State Cellular in California and Mobi PCS in Hawaii. Verizon confirmed with Fierce Wireless its plans to acquire Golden State Cellular’s spectrum, network assets, and customers in several markets in California, including Amador, Alpine, Calaveras, Tuolumne, and Mariposa counties. Verizon will transition Golden State Cellular’s 18,000 subscribers to its network within 15 months of the deal’s closing. In Hawaii, Verizon will acquire 20-30MHz of PCS spectrum from Mobi PCS, and then lease back 10MHz of that spectrum so Mobi can transition away from being a stand-alone service provider. Verizon said Mobi is still exploring several different ways to exit its wireless business. Both proposal are subject to FCC and other government regulatory approval. Verizon and competitor AT&T have spent the last 12 to 18 months acquiring a significant number of small, regional network operators mostly for their spectrum assets.

Sprint today filed paperwork with the Federal Communications Commission seeking permission to acquire the spectrum licenses held by a company called Cleveland Unlimited Inc. At issue are 12 licenses that provide PCS coverage across portions of Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. If the transaction is approved, Sprint will gain 10 to 16.4MHz in 56 counties, giving it a total of 129.5MHz of spectrum in the coverage area. Under the terms of the agreement, Sprint would not gain Cleveland Unlimited’s customers. Sprint says the spectrum will help it improve its network, expand deployment of new wireless services, and better meet growing consumer demand for mobile broadband. Sprint operates both CDMA and LTE services in the 1900MHz PCS band. Sprint recently indicated that it won’t participate in the H Block spectrum auction, set to take place in January. It said it would pursue spectrum in other ways. Purchasing it from other companies is one such way toward bulking up its spectrum holdings.

AT&T has begun to repurpose its 1900MHz PCS spectrum to help bolster its LTE network. GigaOm reports that AT&T is operating LTE in a 5MHz-by-5MHz slice of airwaves in its PCS band in New York City. AT&T has previously used the PCS band only for voice services and GSM/HSPA data. In addition to refarming some of its existing spectrum, GigaOm discovered that AT&T has already added LTE support in the PCS band to a number of its devices, including the iPhone 5s/5c, iPad Air/Mini, and the Nexus 5. These devices are already connecting to AT&T’s LTE service in the 1900MHz band in New York. The additional LTE availability won’t increase data speeds on AT&T’s network, but it will offer more capacity in markets where it is needed. More than a year ago, AT&T said that it will shutter its GSM/EDGE network entirely by 2017 and reuse that spectrum for faster networks. AT&T competitors Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless are all working on similar spectrum repurposing projects to improve the capacity of their own LTE networks in order to meet the growing demand for mobile broadband.