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Leader in Public Safety Communications™


Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554



In the Matter of


Application of AT&T Mobility Spectrum LLC and

North Dakota Network Co.


For Consent To Assign License









WT Docket No. 16-235



Memorandum opinion and order


Adopted:  January 6, 2017                                                                          Released:  January 6, 2017


By the Chief, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau:
I.                    Introduction

    1. In this Memorandum Opinion and Order, we consider the application of AT&T and North Dakota Network for Commission consent to the assignment to AT&T of one Lower 700 MHz C Block license covering part of one local market area in North Dakota. The Commission determined in the Mobile Spectrum Holdings Report and Order that increased aggregation of below-1-GHz spectrum would be treated as an “enhanced factor” under its case-by-case review of license transfers if post-transaction the acquiring entity would hold approximately one-third or more of the suitable and available spectrum below 1 GHz.[1]  In the proposed transaction, AT&T would increase its spectrum holdings, and in particular, would hold post-transaction more than one-third of the currently suitable and available below-1-GHz spectrum in part of one local market area.  After carefully evaluating the likely competitive effects of AT&T’s increased aggregation of below-1-GHz spectrum in this local market area, as well as the other factors ordinarily considered in a case-by-case review, we find that the likelihood of competitive harm is low.  Further, we find that some public interest benefits are likely to be realized, such as increased network quality and a better consumer experience.  Based on the record before us and our public interest review, we find that the proposed assignment of license would serve the public interest, convenience, and necessity, and therefore we consent to the proposed assignment

II.                 Background and public interest framework

  1. Description of the Applicants. AT&T Mobility Spectrum LLC is an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of AT&T Inc. (together with AT&T Mobility Spectrum LLC, AT&T), which is headquartered in Dallas, Texas, and is a communications holding company that ranks among the leading providers of telecommunications services in the United States.[2]  North Dakota Network Co. (NDN, and together with AT&T, the Applicants), a subsidiary of SRT Communications, provides wireless service to substantial portions of several counties in North Dakota, including rural areas.[3]
  2. Description of the Transaction. On June 6, 2016, AT&T and NDN filed the Application pursuant to Section 310(d) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (the Act),[4] seeking Commission consent to assign one Lower 700 MHz C Block license to AT&T.[5]  Through the instant transaction, AT&T would be assigned 12 megahertz of low-band spectrum from NDN in six counties covering approximately 72 percent of the population of Cellular Market Area (CMA) 581 (North Dakota 2 – Bottineau).[6]  Post-transaction, AT&T would hold from 125 megahertz to 145 megahertz of spectrum in total, and in particular, it would increase its below-1-GHz holdings to 55 megahertz in these six counties in North Dakota 2 – Bottineau.[7]

Standard of Review.  Pursuant to Section 310(d) of the Act,[8] we must determine whether the Applicants have demonstrated that the proposed assignment of licenses and authorizations would serve the public interest, convenience, and necessity.[9]  In making this determination, we first assess whether the proposed transaction complies with the specific provisions of the Act,[10] other applicable statutes, and the Commission’s rules.[11]  If the proposed transaction does not violate a statute or rule, we next consider whether the proposed transaction could result in public interest harms by substantially…..

Read the complete Memorandum here: DA-17-21A1.pdf


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