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USA's Largest Networks to be Restricted in Next Year's Spectrum Auction

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The USA's two largest mobile networks are to be restricted in how much spectrum they can bid for in next year's radio spectrum auction.

The US telecoms regulator, the FCC voted 3-2 in favour of the proposal to limit spectrum bidding by Verizon and AT&T in order to reduce competition and promote bidding by the smaller mobile networks.

The regulator also amended how it deploys its "screen", which comes into effect when a mobile network holds more than a third of the available radio spectrum in an specific market.

The changes affect the sub-1Ghz spectrum, which is particularly valued for building penetration in urban areas and lower deployment costs in rural areas.

To promote competition, the rules establish a market-based reserve of no more than 30 megahertz of spectrum targeted for providers that hold less than 1/3 of available low-band spectrum in a license area.

The regulations also only come into effect when there is more demand for radio spectrum in a market from bidders than there is spectrum available. Where there is a surplus of spectrum, then the rules will be relaxed.

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Tags: fcc  radio spectrum  USA