The FCC has just lifted its gag order on the gory details of the 700MHz Auction 73
, and AT&T wasted absolutely no time setting up a press conference to discuss how it was planning to utilize its win in the so-called B Block. Bottom line: AT&T's moving to LTE for its 4G infrastructure -- no surprise there, since it's the natural evolution for GSM carriers -- and the purchase is designed to support that build-out. As they've said before
, they're tooting their horn over the fact that the B Block action combined with the Aloha spectrum purchase gives the carrier 100 percent coverage in the 700MHz arena in the top 200 US markets, while also noting that the frequency range is stellar at breaking through walls for hot in-building coverage.
As for Verizon's C Block win -- the block touted for its open access clause -- AT&T's convinced that the B Block made more sense for the very reason that it lacked those regulatory restrictions. The lack of FCC oversight is cause for some concern, yes, but AT&T continues to stress
that it was "open" long before the whole C Block hullabaloo came along by virtue of the fact that any GSM device with the right bands can hop on its network.
In terms of timing, the company's not really in any hurry; it wants to continue to milk HSPA for everything it's worth, promising a 7.2Mbps downlink rollout through 2009, and realistically, we'll be well into the next decade before we see wide-scale use of 700MHz LTE around these parts. A little scary for the impatient among us, we've gotta say.