Verizon says refarming the PCS spectrum won’t be enough to meet LTE demand

Verizon Wireless said that refarming its 1900 MHz PCS spectrum for LTE service will not be enough to meet the growing mobile data traffic demands on its network, according to an FCC filing.

Verizon said that it will redeploy PCS spectrum for LTE “as soon as it is possible,” but that “PCS spectrum cannot accommodate the dramatic growth in customer LTE demand and is instead needed to further supplement” the AWS spectrum Verizon is seeking to acquire from cable companies. The disclosure was part of a filing Verizon made defending its pending $3.9 billion purchase of AWS spectrum from SpectrumCo, a joint venture of cable companies Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, as well as Cox Communications.

The arguments Verizon marshals in the filing are similar to ones the company made to the FCC earlier this year. Verizon expects the deal to receive regulatory approval by mid-to-late summer, and has offered to sell its Lower 700 MHz A Block spectrum–which it has said is less valuable than the AWS spectrum it wants to acquire–if it gets regulators to sign off on the deals.

In the filing, which is heavily redacted and was filed last week but just posted on the FCC’s website, Verizon noted that it plans to redeploy PCS spectrum, currently reserved for its 3G CDMA network, beginning in 2015. The company said that at least a 5X5 block of PCS spectrum will be required to meet “service quality objectives” but that this spectrum will not be sufficient to meet LTE demand.

Many carriers, including T-Mobile and MetroPCS, which oppose Verizon’s AWS deals, have turned to spectrum refarming to help them increase capacity as they offer LTE services.

In the filing, which is heavily redacted and was filed last week but just posted on the FCC’s website, Verizon noted that it plans to redeploy PCS spectrum, currently reserved for its 3G CDMA network, beginning in 2015. The company said that at least a 5X5 block of PCS spectrum will be required to meet “service quality objectives” but that this spectrum will not be sufficient to meet LTE demand.


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