Wireless auction bidding exceeds $4B
More than $4.3 billion has been pledged after the conclusion of the fifth round of bidding on 700 MHz spectrum being auctioned off by the FCC.
That part of the spectrum is currently used by TV broadcasters that must give up use of those airwaves in February 2009 – the deadline for the transition to digital broadcast. The 700 MHz band will be used for wireless services, and it is considered especially valuable because signals on that wavelength are capable of penetrating walls, which will make for excellent wireless coverage.
There are 214 qualified bidders. Most of the qualified bidders are phone companies, but there are a few cable interests among them, including Cablevision and one of Paul Allen’s venture operations; Allen is chairman of Charter Communications.
The FCC provides updates on the amount of money bid, but it does not specify which companies have done the bidding. The secrecy about bidder identities is intended to inhibit collusion among bidders.
The schedule for bidding is open-ended and could take weeks, perhaps months. The general expectation for the auction is that it will ultimately bring in more than $10 billion.
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