T-Mobile US president of technology Ulf Ewaldsson slated a government policy preventing it accessing 2.5GHz spectrum acquired in an auction in 2022, arguing the nation’s position in the global 5G market is at risk.
In a blog, Ewaldsson stated a decision to allow the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) ability to issue spectrum to lapse means the US is unable to fully capitalise on the economic potential 5G access and services brings.
The operator committed $304 million on 7,156 2.5GHz spectrum licences to augment its 5G network, particularly across rural areas.
Ewaldsson noted the spectrum will improve high-speed internet service for millions of households, including veterans, tribal lands and underserved communities.
The executive argued the FCC still has the power to either grant the licences or issue the operator a special temporary authority, citing research consultancy The Brattle Group published in June indicating a $28 billion opportunity for issuing the 2.5GHz licences in this way.
T-Mobile may also be keen to get its hands on the spectrum for competitive reasons: executives have long maintained the operator’s large of volume mid-band spectrum gives it an advantage over AT&T and Verizon, but the gap could close as they access C-Band spectrum.
Ewaldsson opined reinstating the FCC’s spectrum authority should be an immediate priority for politicians.
“The longer we wait to deploy the spectrum, the more Americans, especially rural and underserved communities, needlessly wait and competition suffers”.
Among others who have called for the FCC authority to be restored are FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel, CTIA president and CEO Meredith Attwell Baker, and CCA president and CEO Tim Donovan.
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