The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is proposing new rules for competitive bidding in spectrum auctions that would bar joint bidding arrangements among Tier-1 carriers. According to Fierce Wireless, the watchdog voted 5-0 to approve the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), but its two Republican commissioners concurred on parts of the proposed rules and dissented on others.
The rules are unlikely to go into effect before the start of the AWS-3 spectrum auction, which will commence on 13 November, but will likely be in place in time for next year’s 600MHz incentive auction. The FCC is also seeking comment on whether national carriers can jointly bid with smaller ones, but has no particular stance on that.
FCC chairman Tom Wheeler first circulated a proposal in early August that would bar Sprint and T-Mobile US from creating a joint venture (JV) to bid for spectrum in the incentive auction. The proposed rules are aimed at getting more small businesses, rural telephone companies and businesses owned by members of minority groups to bid in spectrum auctions.