RWA Takes Issue with T-Mobile on Report for 700 MHz Band Licenses

The Rural Wireless Association is taking issue with a construction progress report that T-Mobile US, Inc., recently filed for three 700 megahertz band licenses covering areas in Montana and Wyoming. Last December, the Mobility Division of the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau granted T-Mobile a conditional waiver of rules that mandate the acceleration by two years of the final build-out deadline (TRDaily, Dec. 21, 2106).

In an Aug. 4 ex parte filing in WT docket 16-319, RWA said that “the report does not provide any information from which T-Mobile’s current coverage area, much less the roll back area, can be determined. The report speaks in very aspirational terms in defining T-Mobile’s goals and planning but is lacking in any specifics that would show the level of coverage and service availability T-Mobile has accomplished to date. With respect to WQJQ805 and WQJQ806, T-Mobile has filed no buildout showings whatsoever. With respect to WQJQ807, T-Mobile has submitted a buildout showing current as of February 17, 2017. With respect to the former two stations, T-Mobile must be required to demonstrate actual coverage and service availability as it existed on June 13, 2017 or stipulate to the fact that no coverage or service availability existed for those two licenses as of that date. With respect to WQJQ807, T-Mobile last filed coverage and service availability information on February 17, 2017.

“If in fact there has been no expansion of coverage or service area since T-Mobile’s last construction notice showing coverage as of February 17, 2017, then at a minimum T-Mobile should stipulate to this fact,” RWA added. “If coverage and service areas were increased between December 13, 2016 and June 13, 2017 then it is incumbent upon T-Mobile to demonstrate this fact through the submission of an appropriate construction showing.

“Without the filing of system maps and shapefile data reflecting coverage as of June 13, 2017, there will be no way for potential competitors to determine the boundaries of T-Mobile’s license area in the event that it fails to meet all of the conditions imposed by the waiver letter,” RWA argued. “This point was specifically acknowledged by the Bureau in its recent decision granting a conditional waiver of section 27.14 of the rules to Alaska Wireless Network (‘AWN’) for one of its 700 MHz licenses [TR Daily, June 6]. In that case, the Bureau specifically required AWN to file ‘a showing demonstrating its geographic coverage area within 15 days of June 13, 2017’ so that the June 13, 2017 coverage area could be readily ascertained. These same concerns apply with equal force in the present case and the Bureau should rectify its potential oversight by requiring T-Mobile either to submit a construction notification for each of its licenses subject to the waiver immediately, or to include that data in its upcoming construction progress report.” —Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily