Monday, September 18, 2006

FCC Raises $13.9 Billion in AWS Spectrum Auction

The FCC concluded its auction of Advanced Wireless Service (AWS) spectrum licenses, raising total gross bids of nearly $13.9 billion. The top bidders were:

  • T-Mobile License LLC, which bid $4.182 billion;

  • Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless, which bid $2.808 billion;

  • SpectrumCo LLC; which bid $2.377 billion;

  • MetroPCS AWS, LLC, which bid $1.391 billion;

  • and Cingular AWS, LLC, which bid $1.334 billion.

More than half of the winning bidders in the auction certified their qualifications as small business entities, enabling them to use bidding credits. All winning bidders must make down payments on their licenses within ten business days.

In a statement, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said "The first Advanced Wireless Services auction, which closed today, is the biggest, most successful wireless auction in the Commission's history. The spectrum offered was the largest amount of spectrum suitable for deploying wireless broadband ever made available in a single auction... Auction winners are expected to use this prime "spectrum real estate" to roll out new devices, which will allow consumers to access the Internet and dedicated video services wherever they want, whenever they want."
  • Wireless DBS, which was backed by DirecTV, News Corp, Fox, EchoStar, Rupert Murdoch, and EchoStar, withdrew from the auction.

  • AWS-1 bands are currently being used for a variety of Government and non-Government services and require relocating incumbent operations. The lower half of these paired frequencies, i.e., 1710-1755 MHz, is currently a Government band and is covered by a Congressional mandate that requires that auction proceeds fund the estimated relocation costs of incumbent federal entities. The upper half of these paired frequencies, i.e., 2110-2150 MHz band, is used by private (including state and local governmental public safety services) and common carrier fixed microwave services (“FS�?). The 2150-2155 MHz band is currently used by the Broadband Radio Service (BRS).

  • The FCC has completed 64 auctions in the 13 years since it was granted competitive bidding authority.


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