The Alaska Wireless Network (AWN), a wholly owned subsidiary of GCI Communication, and Nextel West, a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of Sprint, filed an application seeking FCC approval of a long-term de facto transfer spectrum leasing arrangement. AWN would lease spectrum under two 800 MHz SMR licenses covering Alaska from Sprint.EWA Questions SMR Applications with Numerous Channels, IoT Services
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According to the carriers, for many rural Alaska communities, the implicated 800 MHz SMR spectrum can be used to extend coverage beyond community borders, which they contend would increase coverage to isolated areas where access to service has been limited and would improve public-safety communications.
The FCC’s preliminary review indicated that AWN would lease 14 megahertz of 800 MHz SMR spectrum covering the 29 boroughs/census areas in the four cellular market areas (CMAs) in Alaska. Post-transaction, AWN would be attributed with 176 to 211 megahertz of spectrum, including 51 to 76 megahertz of below-1-GHz spectrum in 29 boroughs/census areas.
The applicants asserted that the leasing arrangement would enhance AWN’s ability to cover the vastness of Alaska more effectively, particularly in underserved and rural communities, while also allowing Sprint’s customers to expand their ability to use mobile broadband services. The applicants said that the propagation characteristics of 800 MHz SMR spectrum allow a service provider to provide service to a wider geographic area using fewer towers.
In connection with the commission’s review of the proposed transaction, the commission intends to examine information contained in the biannual Numbering Resource Utilization and Forecast (NRUF) reports filed by wireless telecommunications carriers, carrier-specific local number portability (LNP) data related to wireless telecommunications carriers, and further disaggregated monthly carrier-specific LNP data related to wireless telecommunications carriers. The data may assist the commission in assessing the competitive effects of the transaction.
On April 5, the commission accepted the application for filing and established a pleading cycle for the proposed transaction. Petitions to deny are due April 26, oppositions are due May 3, and replies are due May 10.
A public notice with more information is here.