NAB at Odds With Big Cell Carriers Over Repack Schedule

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NAB EVP Dennis Wharton earlier this year described the 39-month repack time frame as “ambitious to say the least”

WASHINGTON — Bidders committed more than $19.63 billion for TV broadcasters’ spectrum during the FCC’s most recent incentive auction, which ended in the spring. T-Mobile bid the most — $8B on 600 MHz licenses. These bidders have repeatedly urged the commission to stick to the 39-month repacking plan it has allotted to reshuffle TV broadcasters’ channels. 

These same bidders may not be as eager to participate in subsequent auctions if the FCC can’t fulfill its 39 month plan, carrier executives said this week, according to fiercewireless.com. “We bid $8 billion with the understanding we'd have access to this spectrum within 39 months,’’ said Kathleen Ham, T-Mobile’s senior vice president of affairs. “You want bidders going in thinking that the rules of the road are the rules of the road.” She warned that bidders may be hesitant to bid in the future if they don’t think they can obtain the spectrum quickly.

Robert Gutman of Guggenheim Equity Research recently wrote that the repack period may take twice as long as currently planned.

The NAB continues to push back against the 39-month plan. NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton earlier this year described the repack time frame as “ambitious to say the least.” Check out this page on the NAB web site to learn more about why the NAB is fighting back.  

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