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Verizon and AT&T win big in 700MHz auction


FCC announces bid winners

AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications, Inc. the two largest mobile phone companies in the U.S., won the lion's share of a nearly $20 billion auction of 700 MHz analog spectrum that will soon be vacated by television broadcasters.

Verizon and AT&T were awarded more than $16 billion of licenses, which they said they will use to enhance existing voice and data services.  Frontier Wireless, a partner of satellite TV operator DISH Network Corporation, won a $711 million piece of the pie in the spectrum.

Verizon Wireless, a joint venture with Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group Plc, won a $4.74 bid that trumped Google Inc.’s bid of $4.71 billion for the largest chunk of the block of the “C” portion of the 700 MHz spectrum.

While Google did not win any awards in the auction, it won in the sense that it did not have to buy any spectrum and helped set the bar for the rules for the “C” portion of the spectrum by guaranteeing that the open platform rules applied to those airwaves. Google said the auction was a victory for American consumers.

The 700-MHz “D” airwaves did not reach the $1.3 billion minimum bid set and the FCC also said it would set aside this block for now. This block will be shared with public safety agencies and drew a single bid of $472 million. The FCC did not immediately say what they would do with the D-block airwaves.

Last modified on 21 March 2008
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