Most 800 MHz public-safety licensees in Wave 3 yesterday entered the mediation phase of negotiations with Sprint Nextel in an effort to reach a final rebanding agreement with the wireless carrier.

The 800 MHz Transition Administrator yesterday announced the beginning of Wave 3 mediations, as scheduled. Exact participation figures were not available for this story, but most industry observers believe at least 85% of Wave 3 NPSPAC licensees will enter mediation because they do not have a rebanding agreement at this time—a percentage similar to the number of licensees that entered mediation in Wave 1 and Wave 2.

The large number of mediations in the previous waves is a key factor in the expected large percentage of Wave 3 licensees requiring mediation, said Wanda McCarley, president of the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO).

“I suspect that [the number of Wave 3 NPSPAC licensees entering mediation] will be substantial, because we’ve stacked the dominoes,” McCarley said to MRT yesterday, noting that she had yet to receive a progress report for Wave 3. “It’s not like the waves are independent and standalone entities, because the same people who are working in Wave 1 and Wave 2 are working in Wave 3—in terms of consultant and legal issues—so the same resources come into play.”

Entering the mediation process has become the norm for NPSPAC licensees affected by rebanding, and the vast majority of rebanding agreements to date have been products of the mediation process.