The FCC must update the spectrum screen

As our latest ex parte filing [PDF] notes, many parties, including Verizon and Sprint, have argued over the last year and a half that the FCC must update the spectrum screen to reflect current wireless marketplace realities. Verizon has long advocated that the critical update that must be made is the addition of the remaining 2.5 GHz spectrum to the screen, given that it is not only suitable and available for use but is being used today for mobile broadband. Now, on the eve of the FCC adopting rules that will govern two spectrum auctions, Sprint has proposed a new, allegedly “easy to implement,” spectrum screen that continues to ignore the biggest defect in the Commission’s application of the spectrum screen: the exclusion of 138 MHz of 2.5 GHz spectrum. Instead, Sprint proposes to apply complicated calculations to various spectrum bands on an urban, suburban, and rural basis to create a “weighted” spectrum screen that, unsurprisingly, decreases the weight of Sprint’s 147 MHz of 2.5 GHz spectrum holdings to 11.1 MHz, at most.  Our filing makes the case that the FCC should reject Sprint’s self-serving and short-sighted proposal and instead fix the spectrum screen by updating it to include all spectrum that is suitable and available for commercial mobile use.