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Friday, June 28, 2013

Verizon Re-farming PCS Spectrum Band

Verizon announced yesterday that they will be making their PCS spectrum available for LTE in 2015.  If you are looking at a planning horizon, you could call this LTE Channel #3 for Verizon.  Channel #1 is the 700MHz C Block Channel, Channel #2 is their AWS spectrum holding, and Channel #3 is now their PCS spectrum asset.  Previously Verizon had indicated interest in Clearwire EBS/BRS spectrum which was their Channel #3 at that time, which has passed.

So what does this mean to Verizon and its customers?  First, there are a limited number of markets where Verizon lacks cellular spectrum, so the PCS spectrum carries their voice traffic.  See the Tulsa, OK, Spectrum Grid below:

 In Tulsa, USCellular owns the B-band Cellular spectrum, highlighting a potential acquisition opportunity.  Verizon holds 5MHz of spectrum in the PCS block for their voice services, along with 10MHz of AWS spectrum.

Looking at the contiguous spectrum that Verizon holds in each of the cellular market areas we see that the only market where they can create a 20x20 LTE channel with their PCS spectrum holding is in New York, NY.  For the New York market, Verizon's PCS spectrum holding would permit 4 - 5x5 LTE Channels, or 2 - 10x10 LTE Channels, or 1 20x20 LTE Channel.  Below are the results for Verizon's PCS Spectrum in Cellular markets 1-25.  The fractional LTE channels (e.g. 2.1 - 5x5 LTE in Minneapolis) are caused by summarizing the number LTE channels in each market by averaging the LTE channel count for each county in that cellular market area (CMA).

Below are the results for Verizon's PCS Spectrum in Cellular markets 25-50.  Clearly, deployment of Verizon's PCS spectrum with LTE will not provide as much additional capacity as their Channel #1 and Channel #2 plans, thus Verizon is still spectrum shopping for their 2015 LTE capacity.

Top 20 Markets where T-Mobile has less than 20x20 Spectrum for LTE




T-Mobile - USCellular, Larger LTE Pipes

T-Mobile announced an acquisition this morning of USCellular's AWS spectrum in several markets.  This was clearly foreshadowed when I analyzed the Sprint - USCellular PCS spectrum deal earlier this year.

On this chart from the Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool, you can see the PCS spectrum in Chicago and St. Louis that Sprint acquired along with the subscribers and network.  Thus it was clear to see that USCellular's AWS(B) and AWS(E) spectrum was no longer needed.

It clearly makes sense for T-Mobile to acquire this spectrum as indicated in the chart below.  In St Louis, T-Mobile will increase their LTE Channel size from 10MHz to 25MHz and in Kansas City, T-Mobile will increase from 10MHz to 15MHz.  The chart also highlights the important spectrum position that Leap hold in the AWS band which both T-Mobile and Verizon would desire to add to their portfolio.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

LTE Band Class Graphical Reference

With AT&T's announcement that they are meeting some challenges related to testing operation between LTE Band Class 29 and Band Classes 2 and 4, I figured that many readers would appreciate a reference map for how these band classes relate to the US mobile radio and satellite spectrum bands.

All of these screenshots are from the AllNet Labs Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool, where we display and provide analysis tools related to spectrum ownership for all of the US mobile radio and satellite spectrum bands for all 50 states and US territories. AllNet Labs Spectrum Ownership Analysis Tool

In the images below, the band classes are color coded Gray for Uplink Spectrum, Yellow for Downlink Spectrum, and Blue for Spectrum supporting Time Division Duplex.

700MHz Spectrum

SMR/Cellular/L-Band Spectrum

AWS/PCS Spectrum - Uplink

PCS/AWS Spectrum - Downlink

WCS/EBS/BRS Spectrum