Article

Verizon, AT&T to operate 4G on new 700 MHz spectrum wins

Ed Hardy

This article originally appeared on Brighthand.com.

Following their big wins in the FCC's 700 MHz spectrum auction, both Verizon and AT&T have announced they will operate 4G service on the spectrum. FCC

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rulings require both companies continue to operate open networks.

The FCC announced in March that Verizon was the big winner in the recent auction of wireless spectrum in the 700 MHz band. However, FCC rules initially barred everyone who participated in the auction from talking about it. This has now changed.
Verizon will use its new spectrum -- for which it is paying $9.63 billion in license fees -- for its fourth generation wireless network using the LTE (Long Term Evolution) standard.

All the technical details on the LTE standard have not yet been finalized, so it will be some time before Verizon has its 4G network up and running. The fact that the 700 MHz spectrum won't be available for almost a year will also help delay the roll out. At this point, the telecom expects to have LTE available in test markets in late 2009, with broader availability coming in 2010.

Another FCC rule will require Verizon to open its new network to any mobile device running any software. As it turns out though, Verizon had previously jumped on the open access bandwagon, announcing late last year that it's going to open its network to "Any Apps, Any Device".

Don't forget AT&T
Verizon wasn't the only telecom to pick up spectrum in the FCC auction. AT&T also licensed some, though it didn't need as much as Verizon. Still it owes $6.6 billion in license fees.

AT&T will also use its new spectrum to roll out a 4G network using the emerging LTE standard. However, it's not being as aggressive as Verizon is about getting this in place. The telecom might not offer 4G service until 2013.

These delays will favor Sprint, who is hoping to having its 4G service using WiMax available in test markets later this year.


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