Provider: Pitney Bowes Business Insight
MobileMarketInfo is an enhanced database of Personal Communications Service Areas and Cellular Market Areas from the FCC, replacing PCSInfo and MSA/RSAInfo. Since PCSInfo and MSA/RSAInfo both contained wireless license-holder information, the two products were combined into one comprehensive offering.
MobileMarketInfo provides more information for both cellular and PCS licenses than what were currently found within the existing product line. In particular, MobileMarketInfo will show sub-divisions of MTAs and BTAs (referred to as Market Partitioning) and frequency range splits (referred to as Frequency Disaggregation). Another detail that was missing from the current product-set is the “doing business as” name associated with each license. This is the name of the carrier that actually is providing service.
The FCC divided the cellular market for the US into Metropolitan Service Areas (MSA) and Rural Service Areas (RSA) – the FCC now refers to these areas as Cellular Market Areas (CMAs). The PCS market is divided into Metropolitan Trading Areas (MTA) and Basic Trading Areas (BTA). MTAs and BTAs can be further sub-divided into smaller geographic partitions. Each CMA, MTA, and BTA provides multiple frequency blocks for use by different wireless carriers. For example, CMAs and MTAs each have an A frequency block and a B frequency block, and each BTA has frequency blocks C, D, E and F. Within each frequency block, carriers can sub-divide the frequency range. This allows multiple carriers to offer service within the same frequency block.
MobileMarketInfo is a comprehensive new database for mapping and analyzing the wireless license landscape. Complete with market partitioning and frequency disaggregation, MobileMarketInfo consists of Cellular Market Areas (CMA) and Personal Communication Service Areas (PCS). MobileMarketInfo will incorporate FCC textual data, in conjunction with internal research, to provide geographic definitions of the CMA, MTA and BTA market areas. This unison of data and geography will allow customers the ability to select a particular carrier and view the geographic area in which they serve. MobileMarketInfo will also address other important information such as capacity (how much frequency is a carrier operating with in a given area) and ownership (whose license is the carrier operating under).
CMA service areas are also referred to as:
- Metropolitan Service Areas (MSA) – Sides A and B
- Rural Service Areas (RSA) – Sides A and B
PCS service areas are also referred to as:
- Major Trading Areas (MTA) – Blocks A and B
- Basic Trading Areas (BTA) – Blocks C-D-E-F
Together these service areas define the geographies that wireless carriers are licensed to provide service throughout the United States. By bringing together the complex FCC license data, coupled with dedicated research, MobileMarketInfo delivers a concise format for accurate analyses.
- Information about license holders, buildout dates, partitions, diaggregations, and capacity.
- Complete information on Doing Business As names.
- Relational database design that enables easier queries.
The United States PCS market is divided into Metropolitan Trading Areas (MTAs) and Basic Trading Areas (BTAs). Both MTAs and BTAs can be subdivided into geographic partitions (MTAs and BTAs are both composed of one or more counties). Please see ‘Partitioning / Disaggregations’ for more information about partitions.
Broadband PCS is allocated spectrum ranging from 1850-1910 mHz and 1930-1990 mHz. The FCC divided this 120 mHz of spectrum into six frequency blocks A through F. MTAs are assigned an A and a B frequency block. BTAs have frequency blocks C, D, E, and F. Blocks A, B, and C are 30 mHz each and blocks D, E, and F are 10 mHz each. Each MTA and BTA can subdivide its frequency blocks. This process is called disaggregation.
The FCC divides the United States cellular communications market into Metropolitan Service Areas (MSAs) and Rural Service Areas (RSAs). The FCC now calls MSAs and RSAs Cellular Market Areas (CMAs). CMAs are composed of one or more counties. CMAs are assigned an A and a B frequency block.
When the FCC first established cellular service rules, cellular spectrum was allocated into 40 mHz of spectrum: a 20 mHz block, 825 to 845 mHz, was designated for transmissions made by mobile units, and a separate 20 mHz block, from 870 to 890 mHz, was allocated for base station transmissions.
Due to the growth in demand for cellular service, the FCC allocated an additional five mHz of spectrum to each cellular system, increasing the spectrum designated for each block to 25 mHz and the total allocation to 50 mHz. The frequency allocation for mobile transmissions now ranges from 824 to 849 mHz, and from 869 to 894 mHz for base station transmissions.
Partitioning and Disaggregation
Currently, no additional broadband PCS auctions are scheduled. However, it is possible to obtain a broadband PCS license(s) from a current broadband PCS licensee. Licensees may sell all or part of their licenses, subject to FCC approval, to other entities.
The FCC established construction requirements for broadband PCS licenses to ensure that the broadband PCS spectrum is used effectively and made available to as many communities as possible. Licensees of 30 mHz blocks must serve with a signal level sufficient to provide adequate service to at least one-third of the population in their licensed area within five years of the original license date. In addition they must serve two-thirds of the population in their licensed area within 10 years of the original license date. Licensees of 10 and 15 mHz blocks must serve with a signal level sufficient to provide adequate service to at least one-quarter of the population in their licensed area date or make a showing of substantial service in their licensed area within five years of the original license. Failure by any licensee to meet these requirements will result in forfeiture of the license and the licensee will be ineligible to regain it.
Initial cellular system licensees are given a five-year period during which to expand their systems within the CMAs in which they are licensees. During the five-year build-out period, the licensee has the exclusive right to expand within its licensed CMA. At the end of the five-year build-out period, the actual service area of all cells in a system is the licensee’s Cellular Geographic Service Area (CGSA). Any area within the CMA that is not part of a licensee’s CGSA at the end of the five-year period is considered unserved area and may be relicensed.
Where are wireless providers licensed to offer wireless services?
This information is currently available from the FCC, however it is in a complicated format that does not provide visualization of the areas in which the carriers are licensed (when data is downloaded from the system). MobileMarketInfo incorporates the FCC textual data, in conjunction with internal research, to provide geographic definitions of the CMA, MTA and BTA market areas. This unison of data and geography will allow customers the ability to select a particular carrier and view the geographic area in which they serve.
How much spectrum are providers licensed to offer services on?
In addition to being able to determine where wireless providers are licensed to offer service, MobileMarketInfo will also address another important piece information: capacity (how much frequency is a carrier operating with in a given area). Frequency is the bandwidth that allows carriers to offer a greater range of services, such as games, data and video. It is imperative to understand how much frequency is allocated to a particular carrier in a particular market. This value is the measuring stick for how much capacity that carrier can handle and can be the difference between a merger that makes sense, and a merger that leaves the customers with busy signals.
I don’t care about licenses, I want to know where AT&T or Sprint PCS services.
No problem, MapInfo has invested significant levels of resources into researching and maintaining an accurate and up-to-date ownership (whose license is the carrier operating under) relationships. This database makes the connections between the license holder and the D/B/A name. It is not uncommon for law firms, LLCs, and other entities to purchase a license for a specific market(s) and then turn around and sublet the license to a larger carrier. With MobileMarketInfo’s DBA layer, MapInfo has already determined the licensed areas and provided them a separate table.
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