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FCC Gives T-Mobile Special Authority to Use More Spectrum

The FCC has given T-Mobile specials authority to use additional spectrum in the 600 MHz band, much of it offered up by competitors pulling together during the current public health crisis. 

The company asked for the extra spectrum to meet anticipated coronavirus-related demand for things like telehealth, teleworking and distance learning, as well as to meet the demands of first responders. 

The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau issued a 60-day special temporary authority to T-Mobile. The spectrum is both from FCC inventory and from other licensees who have agreed to let T-Mobile use it. 

One of those was DISH, which said Friday it was making its entire portfolio of 600 MHz spectrum available to T-Mobile for 60 days.  

"The FCC is dedicated to helping Americans work from home, learn at home, and connect remotely to health care professionals during this crisis,” said FCC chair Ajit Pai. “I would like to thank all of the companies that agreed to make their spectrum available for this important effort—DISH, Comcast, NewLevel, LB License Co, Channel 51, Omega, Bluewater, and TStar License Holdings. And, of course, I would like to thank T-Mobile for launching this effort. This temporary authority will help T-Mobile better serve customers who, like all of us, are making significant adjustments to their daily lives to minimize in-person interactions and slow the spread of COVID-19. In the days ahead, I look forward to taking additional actions, in partnership with the private sector, to Keep Americans Connected.” 

“As we take this step, we’d like to thank the FCC for their leadership on the technological needs arising as a result of the virus, including the increased need for broadband access to help consumers respond to the impact of COVID-19 on daily life," said Jeff Blum, DISH SVP of public policy and government affairs.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.