03.03.11

Does MetroPCS want to buy the 2GHz MSS spectrum?

Posted in Financials, ICO/DBSD, LightSquared, Operators, Spectrum, TerreStar at 11:31 am by timfarrar

Today MetroPCS revealed that it plans to raise about $1B to pursue “opportunistic deals” for “more wireless spectrum”. Their CFO also indicated that he is “open and supportive of 4G wholesalers such as LightSquared and Clearwire” and that he “would be interested in buying nationwide spectrum”. Yesterday I questioned where the money would come from for the proposed Harbinger/Solus bid for DBSD and TerreStar and the subsequent network buildout of LightSquared and TerreStar. Today’s announcement from MetroPCS might provide part of the answer, given MetroPCS’s previously expressed interest in TerreStar.

It now seems plausible that MetroPCS could help to fund a Harbinger/Solus bid for both TerreStar and DBSD and even participate in a subsequent network sharing arrangement (perhaps involving both LightSquared and Sprint). It would certainly seem easier to find the $2.6B contemplated in Harbinger and Solus’s court submission if MetroPCS contributed $1B and took a major stake in the consortium. However, the possibility of MetroPCS joining with DISH should not be ruled out at this stage. Either of these options would probably make more sense than MetroPCS bidding for control of just DBSD or TerreStar in competition with Harbinger/Solus and DISH, and would avoid many of the risks currently associated with the L-band interference issues. As a result, it looks like the next two weeks will be filled with even more drama, as we learn more about MetroPCS’s intentions.

1 Comment »

  1. ORBITRAX said,

    March 4, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    It seems relevant that any flexibility grant/implied flexibility grant that would effectively “repurpose” the 2Ghz MSS spectrum for terrestrial use similar to this that would draw the initial attention of Metro PCS/LightSquared. Would also draw the attention of Verizon and ATT into the bid. One could assume that any FCC harbored deal to provide such flexibility only to a Harbinger supported bid in the 2Ghz MSS spectrum would surely be a candidate for judicial review by Verizon/ATT.

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