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On Friday, Senior Analyst of Wells Fargo, Jennifer Fritzsche, and her team hosted their July Telecom Topic call with Andy Seybold, the mobile wireless industry’s resource for strategic consulting, research, and analysis. Seybold discussed FirstNet, the first nationwide wireless broadband network for emergency and public safety communications. Fritzsche noted that the biggest takeaway was that Seybold believes to fully build out FirstNet, it will have a $20-30 billion price tag for whatever partner it takes on. Congress allocated spectrum and up to $7 billion in funding for the construction of the network, which was achieved during the AWS-3 auction. Seybold also noted that there will be no real movement on the network before 2017. It’s likely Verizon or AT&T will partner with FirstNet, but it has yet to be determined how FirstNet will impact the broadcast auction bidding strategy. “We believe the prices paid in the broadcast auction may offer some sort of clue as to AT&T and Verizon’s real thoughts on the FirstNet issue, and if it is spectrum fool’s gold or the hidden crown jewels,” Fritsche wrote. “FirstNet will auction off 20MHz of 700MHz D Block spectrum to a carrier that must build/deploy, operate and maintain the public safety network. FirstNet will provide $6.5 billion of ‘seed money’ to the winning bidder from funds raised during the recent AWS-3 spectrum auction. The winning carrier will likely incur additional expenditures beyond the government funds to build out and utilize the public safety network.”

Via Inside Towers