A wireless service provider acquired a license for spectrum that had been underutilized for years.  With its license renewal on the horizon, the company had to decide to use or sell the spectrum before the government denied renewal for non-use.

The wireless service provider also had 3G capacity and backhaul concerns and needed to determine if their underutilized spectrum could be used to address either or both of these concerns.

The spectrum asset was in a frequency band that was too high for traditional mobile communications and too low for common microwave backhaul solutions.


We performed an analysis of the available and emerging technologies for the relevant frequency band. Using this information, we compiled a list of potential uses for the spectrum.

We developed an evaluation framework to narrow down the potential uses to a short list of three options.

  • The three short list options were: deploying an overlay LTE network to offload 3G data traffic; using spectrum for Line of Sight (LOS) backhaul; leasing the spectrum to another operator
  • Framework included regulatory, technology, commercialization, operational, financial and strategic evaluation dimensions

For each of the three options, we performed a more in-depth financial and operating model evaluation.

  • The financial model evaluated the CapEx and OpEx requirements for building out and maintaining each of the short list options
  • The operating model evaluation assessed the impact of each of the three options on the company’s existing organization structure, process, skill sets and tools

At the end of our analysis, we recommended a hybrid use of the spectrum: an overlay LTE network in urban areas for 3G offload and LOS backhaul in rural areas.


The recommendation was validated by client stakeholders and presented to top executives at the company.

The executives agreed with the recommendation and allocated funds to pursue the hybrid option.

The company’s regulatory team was able to begin license renewal activity without having to deal with tough negotiations with the government regulator.

In addition to understanding the potential for the unused spectrum, our evaluation enabled the company to begin thinking about and planning for their transition from 3G to 4G/LTE.