Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Incumbents AT&T and Verizon Wireless Among Winners in 700 MHz Auction

Incumbents AT&T and Verizon Wireless were among the biggest winners in the recently concluded auction of 700MHz spectrum in the United States. Frontier Wireless (EchoStar), a new entrant, also won a sufficient number of licenses to establish a near nationwide footprint for its services for consumers.

AT&T said its winning bid provides it with 700 MHz spectrum covering 100 percent of the top 200 markets in the U.S. Combined with the spectrum previously purchased in the AWS auction, AT&T will have quality spectrum available for new services covering 95 percent of the U.S. population.

"AT&T's strong spectrum holdings position the company to further enhance the quality and reliability of existing wireless broadband and voice services, and to set the foundation for new-generation wireless broadband technologies and services." said Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T's wireless unit.

Verizon Wireless won bids providing it with a nationwide spectrum footprint reaching 298 million Pops, plus 102 licenses for individual markets covering 171 million Pops.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said the auction result offer the possibility of wireless ‘third-pipe" in every market across the nation. He also noted that a healthy demand for licenses by non-nationwide wireless incumbents, representing approximately 69 percent of the 1090 licenses sold. This could open up new opportunities for rural bandband by local players.

The list of winning bidders is posted on the FCC website.