T-Mobile, which is incentivizing broadcasters to exit their spectrum early in the post-incentive auction repack, has incentivized NBC-owned KXAS-TV Dallas-Forth Worth to vacate its spectrum by the end of May, a year earlier than its repack transition deadline for moving to new spectrum.
T-Mobile said the early exit will allow it to advance LTE coverage and capacity in Paris, Sulphur Springs, Tyler, Waco and Wichita Falls, Texas, as well as surrounding areas.
“We are pleased to work with T-Mobile and transition to our new frequency assignment one year ahead of schedule,” added KXAS president and GM Tom Ehlmann. “We will be informing viewers about the transition on-air, on our website, and through social media in the coming months.”
T-Mobile was the biggest winner in the broadcast incentive auction, bidding $8 billion for 1,525 licenses. But in addition to ponying up that money to broadcasters, it has been sweetening the pot for stations willing to give up those licenses earlier than they have to by covering the "reasonable costs" of early moves.
For example, last October, T-Mobile struck a deal with Fox to speed the post-incentive auction repack for Fox TV stations, cutting 16 months off the Fox stations' repack timetable and reducing Fox's take from the FCC's $1.75 billion repack fund, which will run out of money unless Congress ups the fund, as it has signaled it will do.
As part of that deal, WWOR-TV New York (Secaucus, N.J.) is transitioning more than a year ahead of the FCC's August 2019 deadline for its repack.
T-Mobile has also volunteered to pay for affected low-power stations to move to temporary channels and struck a deal last year with noncommercial stations to pay to move their translators.
Combining the lower band 600-MHz spectrum reclaimed from broadcasters with high-band millimeter spectrum is part of a Jack Spratt approach to 5G, with 600 MHz covering a wide range and higher frequencies handling short range in high-density areas.
Jeff Baumgartner contributed to this report.