The European Commission estimates that the global market for the Internet of Things (“IoT”) will grow to 75.4 billion devices by 2023. It also estimates that the economic value of spectrum enabled services is at present worth €500 billion per year. This is expected to increase by 200% – up to €1 trillion a year by 2023 – making the availability of spectrum (needed to send and receive data) and the development of 5G technology increasingly significant.

The European Electronic Communications Code, part of the Commission’s Digital Single Market (“DSM”) Strategy, is nearing the end of the legislative process. It contains a range of safeguards aimed at European-level harmonization for 5G and spectrum management, high-speed broadband technology, and seeks to level the regulatory playing field for “Over the Top” (“OTT”) services with that of traditional telecoms services.

Continue Reading IoT Update: The European Electronic Communications Code – Developing the Future of IoT in the EU

As we previously reported, in October 2014 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a complaint against AT&T in federal court alleging that AT&T’s “throttling” practices for mobile broadband subscribers who were “grandfathered” into the company’s unlimited mobile data plan were unfair and deceptive in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act.  On Monday,

On Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) approved the proposed merger of cellular service providers T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS.  In its written opinion and order, the FCC’s Wireless Bureau concluded that the proposed merger would benefit competition in the wireless market by, among other things, providing the combined company with greater spectrum resources for its LTE network.  The Bureau’s action underscores the value that federal policymakers place on maintaining four national carriers―an issue that came to the forefront when regulators rejected the bid of the 2nd-largest carrier, AT&T, to acquire T-Mobile in December 2011.

After reviewing the relevant product and geographic markets, the FCC observed that the merger of T-Mobile and MetroPCS could create limited competitive harms in a few local geographic markets.  However, those harms were outweighed by the public interest benefits likely to accrue from the merger, including “the expansion of the MetroPCS brand into new geographical markets, the development of a more robust, national network, improved quality of service,” and the strengthening of T-Mobile’s “ability to compete in the mobile broadband services market.”  The agency was persuaded that the merger would permit existing MetroPCS customers access to a larger network (and bring the MetroPCS brand to markets in which it does not currently compete).  The merger also would give T-Mobile customers better service quality — particularly in major metropolitan markets, where the combination of the T-Mobile and MetroPCS networks would bolster service in areas where the T-Mobile network was already at capacity. 
Continue Reading SpectrumWatch: FCC Approves T-Mobile/MetroPCS Merger, Citing Competitive Benefits

Welcome to the first post in our SpectrumWatch series, which will provide updates on developments in spectrum policy and regulation.

Earlier this year Congress passed legislation authorizing the FCC to create the first-of-its-kind incentive auction, in which TV broadcasters may bid on compensation to give up spectral license rights for auction to mobile