AT&T threatens to sit out spectrum auction if FCC adopts proposed rules

WASHINGTON, April 16 Wed Apr 16, 2014 12:31pm EDT

WASHINGTON, April 16 (Reuters) - AT&T Inc may decide to sit out the major upcoming U.S. auction of airwaves if the regulators adopt rules that reserve some of the spectrum for smaller carriers, the No. 2 wireless company said in a filing released on Wednesday.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Wheeler has proposed rules that would reserve up to 30 megahertz of spectrum in any market for wireless carriers that do not already have dominant chunks of low-frequency airwaves, three people briefed on the plan have told Reuters.

"If the restrictions as proposed are adopted, AT&T will need to seriously consider whether its capital and resources are directed toward other spectrum opportunities that will better enable AT&T to continue to support high-quality LTE network deployments to serve its customers," AT&T's Joan Marsh, Vice President of Federal Regulatory, told Wheeler's legal advisor in a meeting on Monday, according to the filing. (Reporting by Alina Selyukh; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)