AT&T Running Low on Airwaves in Some Places, CEO Says

AT&T Inc. (T), the largest U.S. phone company, will find demand for its mobile services outstripping its supply of airwaves in some markets by next year, Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson said.

“Our problem is not a long-haul problem -- our problem is a today problem,” Stephenson said during a panel discussion in Washington. He declined to identify which markets are short of spectrum.

Stephenson has said a regulatory logjam is hampering growth in wireless service and forcing companies to raise prices as demand from the Apple iPhone and other smartphones have put pressure on network capacity.

Companies holding unused or little-used airwaves should sell them to providers that will offer wireless service, and the U.S. Federal Communications Commission should quickly approve such sales, he said today.

The FCC has accelerated its approvals of airwaves deals recently, Stephenson said.

“They’ve done an admirable job over the last couple of months,” he said.

Stephenson said Dallas-based AT&T plans to bid for frequencies that Verizon Wireless would sell upon winning regulatory approval for a $3.6 billion airwaves purchase from cable companies led by Comcast Corp. (CMCSA)

“We could put it to work in 60 days,” Stephenson said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Todd Shields in Washington at tshields3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bernard Kohn at bkohn2@bloomberg.net

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.