The 700MHZ spectrum: Who owns what?

700MHZ spectrum holdings, from T-Mobile to Verizon and AT&T to Echostar

National 4G
National 4G

The 700MHz band is a critically important part of the wireless spectrum, as signals in the range propagate well enough to cover a large area from a single transmitter while carrying data at 4G speeds. Here, thanks to the excellent Spectrum Omega map from Anthony Fiti, is a look at which carriers control those frequencies in the U.S.

ALSO: Crowded U.S. airwaves desperately in search of breathing room

A Block
A Block

The lowest part of the 700MHz spectrum is the A Block, which consists of two 6MHz channels at 698-704MHz and 728-724MHz. Verizon is the biggest license-holder here, covering many of the country’s biggest metro areas, but it’s worth remembering that the lion’s share of this spectrum is headed to T-Mobile as part of a multi-billion-dollar deal.

B Block
B Block

AT&T is the primary spectrum-holder in the B Block, another pair of 6MHz channels located at 704-710MHz and 734-740MHz. Aside from a seemingly random Verizon license in the rural eastern part of Nevada, AT&T has the major population centers, though smaller players like U.S. Cellular still have significant holdings.

C Block
C Block

Again, AT&T is the dominant player, but this time with an interesting geographic twist – the company has most of both coasts, but minor players still hold much of the upper Midwest and Great Plains. The C Block’s two channels are 710-716MHz and 722-728MHz.

D Block

The single 6MHz block between 716-722MHz is completely controlled by AT&T, given that it’s divided into just six massive licenses for the entire lower 48.

E Block
E Block

Just above the D Block, at 722-728MHz, the E Block is a rarity in that it’s largely owned by Echostar, the original corporate parent of the Dish Network. AT&T still controls some licenses, however, including those that cover New York, Boston and Philadelphia on the East Coast, and Los Angeles and San Francisco on the West Coast.

C Block (upper)
C Block (upper)

The upper C block, a hefty 22MHz of spectrum between 746-757MHz and 776-787Mhz, is completely dominated by Verizon, much like AT&T’s nationwide control of the D Block. The license for this particular part of the spectrum comes with strings attached, in the form of a requirement to provide open access to all devices and applications.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold. Special thanks again to Anthony Fiti.