Feeds

US telcos scramble for spectrum

Roll up, roll up

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Power of One Infographic

An FCC auction of spectrum suitable for mobile phone services has brought in over $1.3bn in bids. That's much less than the scramble in 2001 when bids totalled $16.8bn, but enough to make the major players pull out the stops.

Verizon, Cingular and T-Mobile and the budget metropolitan CDMA carrier MetroPCS were among the players in the FCC's Auction 58. MetroPCS, which operates in five markets including the Bay Area, Miami and Georgia, has tabled bids of $384m, and is eyeing spectrum in Los Angeles and Houston. Sprint was disqualified, because it didn't lodge a deposit up front.

Due to the arcane nature of the auction rules (and things were much wackier in the 1980s, when you could basically call yourself a telco and then bid for spectrum) holding companies or proxies are used to make the actual bids. So for example Cook Ilet, which has made 34 bids totalling $283m, is 85 per cent owned by T-Mobile.

The auction is already into its ninth round, and the figures may change by the time you read this.

Now, as in 2001, much of the spectrum was previously held by NextWave, the bankrupt carrier which agreed to pay $4.7bn for licenses in 1996 but couldn't pay for it when it folded two years later. The FCC revoked the license, and NextWave took its appeal to the US Supreme Court, where it won 8:1.

NextWave sold some of this spectrum in private auctions last year, with Verizon snapping up much of what was on offer. ®

Related stories

Rosy future for Sprint-Nextel marriage Tapping the telecoms barometer
Telcos could block free wireless in Philly
Deregulation lobby scores UK KO

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Google Nest, ARM, Samsung pull out Thread to strangle ZigBee
But there's a flaw in Google's IP-based IoT system
Orange spent weekend spamming customers with TXTs
Zero, not infinity, is the Magic Number customers want
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN
Exec finds stream speed climbs when smuggled out
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.