An incentive auction that will shift spectrum from broadcasters to cellular phone providers will go forward with limits on the amount of airwaves the biggest carriers can buy, the Federal Communications Commission ruled today.

There were two orders, one adopting rules for next year’s Broadcast Television Incentive Auction, and another taking steps to promote competition in the wireless market. Both votes were 3-2, with the three Democratic commissioners voting in favor and the two Republican commissioners dissenting.
“Spectrum is a finite resource integral to providing mobile broadband service. No one or two providers should be able to dominate use of wireless airwaves,” the FCC said in a fact sheet. “The two largest nationwide mobile wireless providers [AT&T and Verizon Wireless] hold a combined share of approximately 70 percent of all low-band spectrum licenses; the two other nationwide providers [Sprint and T-Mobile] hold a combined share of approximately 15 percent of all low-band spectrum licenses.”
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