At CTIA Wireless this week, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler made a plea to mobile carriers: Commit to participating in the next year’s broadcast incentive auction, so he can convince reluctant TV stations to sell their airwaves to the mobile industry. Smaller mobile carriers aren’t quite ready to put their money on the table, though, because they’re just as worried as broadcasters that they’ll get a raw deal.
I moderated a panel of regional and rural carrier CEOs this week at Competitive Carriers Association conference, which ran concurrently with CTIA’s show in Las Vegas, and I got the impression few of them are inclined to cooperate with Wheeler. Why? C Spire CEO Hu Meena put it rather succinctly: The FCC still owes him a rather large check. C Spire is sitting on $200 million worth of 700 MHz spectrum auction in 2008 that it has simply been unable to use.
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