FCC Grants T-Mobile Waiver to Bid on 37, 39, and 47 GHz Licenses

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The FCC has released an Order granting T-Mobile US, Inc.’s (T-Mobile) request for a waiver of the Commission’s rules that generally prohibit an FCC spectrum auction applicant from being party to a joint bidding or similar arrangement.  Specifically, the Commission granted T-Mobile’s request for a waiver of 47 CFR §1.2105(a)(2)(ix), despite its ongoing bid to purchase Sprint Corporation (Sprint).  On April 29, 2018, T-Mobile and Sprint announced an agreement to merge in an all-stock transaction.  On July 11, 2019, more than a year after the merger was announced, the Commission announced the application and bidding procedures for the upcoming incentive auction of Upper Microwave Flexible Use Service (UMFUS) licenses in the Upper 37 GHz, 39 GHz, and 47 GHz Bands (Auction 103), which is scheduled to begin on December 10, 2019.  T-Mobile filed a request for a waiver of Section 1.2105(a)(2)(ix) of the Commission’s rules on July 31, 2019.  That particular rule requires an auction applicant to certify that it (or any party that controls or is controlled by it) has not entered and will not enter into any arrangement or understanding of any kind relating directly or indirectly to bidding at auction with another auction applicant or a nationwide provider.  The Commission granted T-Mobile’s request to bid in Auction 103, in part because it had granted similar waiver requests filed by T-Mobile with respect to Auctions 101 and 102.

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