The new year has begun with two large secondary trades between US mobile operators. Will trading increase on the other side of the Atlantic this year?
Hungry for beachfront spectrum, T-Mobile has announced a deal with Verizon Wireless that will leave the “un-carrier” with 2 x 6 MHz in the 700 MHz band in key parts of the US. The deal is estimated to be worth $3.3 billion.
T-Mobile is not the only firm with its eye on more spectrum; US telecoms giant AT&T is to acquire 49 AWS licences from Aloha Services that it says will cover 50 million people. Financial terms have not been disclosed for this deal.
AT&T’s lobbyists told European policy makers last year that there should be more secondary trading in the EU. One wonders why more European telecoms firms are not looking for other ways to get spectrum; their governments often seem to be in no hurry to release it.
It is now over a year since the deadline passed for EU member states to assign spectrum in the 800 MHz band and many still have not done so.
The UK’s market-friendly regulator Ofcom makes no secret of its desire to see more secondary trading. Yet the most recent trade of a spectrum licence in the UK was an internal transaction within a taxi firm in rural Norfolk. The value of the trade has not been disclosed.
Perhaps 2014 could be the year all this changes. But we won’t be holding our breath.