August 11, 2016–Morgan O’Brien, vice chairman of pdvWireless, Inc., said today that his company believes that only three bids were filed to contract with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet).During a presentation this morning at the Canaccord Genuity 36th Annual Growth Conference in Boston, Mr. O’Brien noted that FirstNet has not disclosed how many bids it has received in response to its request for proposals (RFPs) — although it has said there were multiple bids — and that the authority is reviewing proposals and plans to award a contract by Nov. 1.
pdvWireless has disclosed that it submitted a proposal on behalf of a consortium, while Rivada Networks LLC has also announced the submission of a bid on behalf of a consortium called Rivada Mercury (TRDaily, June 7), and AT&T, Inc., has disclosed submitting a proposal (TRDaily, Aug. 5).“We have formed a consortium of world-class companies,” Mr. O’Brien said, adding that pdvWireless approached major companies to be part of the consortium under a very tight deadline to prepare a submission. “We basically approached them and pulled them together into a consortium and … got the application on file.” The application ran 1,400 pages, he said.
“We have not made available details about it because we think this is very much an inside game,” he said. “We believe there’s only three of us.”
During the presentation, company executives also discussed FCC consideration of a petition for rulemaking that pdvWireless and the Enterprise Wireless Alliance filed in 2014 asking the FCC to realign the 900 megahertz band so pdvWireless, which acquired Sprint Corp.’s 900 MHz band frequencies, could deploy a broadband network in a portion of that spectrum, giving priority access to utilities and other critical infrastructure entities. Many incumbent utilities have expressed concerns about the plan.
pdvWireless Chief Financial Officer Tim Gray said an expected notice of inquiry on the 900 MHz band should be released “relatively soon,” adding, “Of course, it’s a regulatory effort, so I’m being positive by saying relatively soon.”
Mr. O’Brien said the company expects the NOI to be issued “shortly.” During an earnings call earlier this week, pdvWireless officials declined to speculate when the NOI would be released (TRDaily, Aug. 10).Mr. O’Brien also stressed that the months that have elapsed since the petition was filed have given pdvWireless time to study concerns raised about the rebanding.“We now know that the problems that have been put on the record are the problems we expected. All of them are solvable,” he said.
He also noted that such realignments have occurred in the past, including with Nextel Communications, Inc., (now part of Sprint Corp.) spectrum in the 800 MHz band. “Precedent would certainly support us,” said Mr. O’Brien, a Nextel co-founder. —Paul Kirby, firstname.lastname@example.org