Verizon is making a case to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in hopes of getting the FCC to approve Verizon’s purchasing of 20-30 MHz-worth of AWS spectrum to build out its LTE network. In a statement to the FCC, Verizon stated that refarming its PCS spectrum would not give it the capacity it needs to handle the growth of traffic on its LTE network. Verizon does plan to refarm the PCS spectrum to LTE anyway, but sees this as a bolstering of, and not a supplement for its plans for the AWS spectrum.
Verizon goes on to suggest that unless the FCC gives them the rubber stamp of approval on the AWS spectrum purchase, they will face network constraints in some areas as early as next year, with widespread problems by 2015. The company projects its year-end 2015 traffic to be more than 5 times its peak EV-DO traffic levels. Verizon has offered to sell off some of the 700 MHz Band A and B spectrum it bought as part of a 2008 FCC Auction, a move that has received a lukewarm reception from others who claim that the Band A interference issues prevent it from being meaningfully used for at least the next 5 years.
Other carriers are challenging Verizon’s claims, with T-Mobile USA taking the lead in asserting that Verizon has the spectrum it needs to fill the gaps, and that Verizon isn’t using the spectrum it’s already purchased as effectively as it can be used. A reason T-Mobile commissioned study found that Verizon’s spectrum efficiency score was the worst of the 4 major carriers when certain factors were taken into account, though Verizon claims that T-Mobile is twisting the results to get the outcome it wants.
Meanwhile, the FCC will continue its investigation into Verizon’s planned AWS Spectrum purchase from four major cable carriers. We’ll bring you news from the FCC’s investigation as it unfolds.