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CCA Chief: Members Likely Incentive Auction Players

Competitive Carriers Association president Steve Berry says he expects his members will be "doubling down" on low-band spectrum in the broadcast incentive auction.

Those carriers will have one less competitor for that beachfront spectrum now that Sprint has made it official that it will not be participating.

In structuring the forward auction—for wireless companies (and others) to bid on spectrum reclaimed from broadcasters—the FCC set aside 30 MHz of the best low-band spectrum, primarily for competitors to Verizon and AT&T, which have the majority of low-band spectrum already.

Asked at a press conference this week about the impact of Sprint's exit, Berry said he would not comment on the move. But he did say that he thought his members—some 100 smaller wireless carriers—would "double down" on getting 600 MHz spectrum.

He said there was a "high interest level" among all members. He said that without Sprint he thought there would be an even greater desire to get in the auction and stay there, particularly small carriers, where the propagation characteristics were "phenomenal," and that by some estimates it was 13 times more expensive to build a network with higher band spectrum.

"There is a real incentive for every small carrier, or large carriers, that services a rural or small market, to get 600 MHz."