Is Sprint Hypocritcal on Spectrum Hoarding?
Large carriers like AT&T have frequently been accused of spectrum hoarding. In AT&T’s case, critics base their claims on the fact that the company has one of the largest holdings of spectrum of any wireless carrier. One of the critics of this alleged spectrum hoarding is Sprint. Yet based on data from Bernstein Research, AT&T owns the fewest MHz of spectrum per million customers while Sprint/Clearwire has the most MHz per million customers. More precisely, Sprint (which owns most of Clearwire) has more than 4.3 times the spectrum per customer than AT&T, and they like it this way for a good reason.
Despite investors calling on Sprint to sell off Clearwire spectrum to boost shareholder value, Sprint seems eager to warehouse Clearwire spectrum to depress the stock value for an easier buyout of Clearwire. So rather than using that spectrum to build more wireless infrastructure, as was intended, or at least auction it off so that others may build more wireless infrastructure, Sprint would seems to be hoarding it for financial gain. That seems rather ironic. One of the key motivations for AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile is the desire for more spectrum, yet Sprint is holding onto excess spectrum while vocally opposing the merger.