LAS VEGAS--Members of the Transition Administrator (TA) team this week answered some questions about licensees’ responsibilities during the 800 MHz rebanding process while promising more detail in the near future.

Dan Head, a TA lawyer, yesterday said the TA team will send an information packet “right around April 15” to Wave 1 licensees to explain many of the expectations and responsibilities associated with licensees. That information packet will be supplemented during the end of May with another information package, which is expected to include the licensee’s frequency assignment, he said.

Licensees wanting money up front to pay expenses associated with planning for the rebanding process can begin filing requests on April 15 via a form provided in the initial information packet, Head said. These up-front funds can be made available after licensees provide estimates of planning costs, which will be reviewed by the TA team and Nextel Communications.

Other tasks that licensees should complete in advance of negotiating the terms of a rebanding contract are to update contact and licensing information in the FCC’s database, document inventory of all equipment that will be affected by the rebanding, review the frequency assignments and prepare cost estimates for rebanding, Head said.

At that point, a licensee should be prepared to negotiate a rebanding deal. Although licensees can negotiate through the TA team, Brett Haan of BearingPoint and other TA officials indicated that the preferred process would be for licensees to negotiate the terms of a contract with Nextel. Those terms would be subject to TA approval.

Licensees also can expect the TA to conduct an audit after rebanding is completed, Head said.

“We’re not going to be done with the process when negotiations are complete,” he said. “We’re going to be following up to make sure that reconfiguration takes place.”

During the audit, the TA will determine the “true-up” costs to ensure that licensees do not have excess money from overestimating their rebanding costs, Head said. Conversely, if the initial estimate was low, the TA team wants to ensure that licensees are reimbursed for any out-of-pocket expenses.

To reduce the chance of out-of-pocket expenses and simplify the audit process, Head suggested that licensees have Nextel pay contractors and vendors directly when possible.