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Qualcomm beefs up wireless spectrum through FCC auction

Mon, 04/07/2008 - 10:00am
Mike Robuck

Qualcomm recently announced that it bought eight licenses, for a total cost of $558.1 million, in the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) 700 MHz spectrum auction.

Qualcomm purchased licenses in the E-Block covering the Boston, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia and San Francisco regions. The new licenses doubled Qualcomm's 700 MHz spectrum holdings, throughout a footprint of more than 68 million people in 28 individual markets, for the company's MediaFLO TV service at a cost of $554.6 million. Qualcomm also purchased three licenses on the B-Block at a cost of $3.5 million.

Qualcomm's E-Block licenses cover five of the nation's top seven economic area regions. Those regions consist of large contiguous areas on the East and West Coasts, stretching from New Hampshire to Maryland and from Orange County to Northern California, respectively.

"This investment in new spectrum underscores our commitment to continue to deliver the most innovative technologies to a growing wireless industry," said Dr. Paul E. Jacobs, CEO of Qualcomm. "Our strategic purchase of E-block licenses will enhance our efforts in the mobile TV space and further MediaFLO USA's mission to bring world-class mobile entertainment to American consumers."

Qualcomm said that the new E-Block spectrum will give MediaFLO USA greater flexibility to deliver additional content and services in these top markets, building on the Channel 55 spectrum that Qualcomm already owns licenses for in these markets.

Qualcomm won the B-Block spectrum in the California-Imperial, New Jersey-Hunterdon and Yuba City, Calif., cellular market areas. The B-Block licenses will provide Qualcomm with 12 MHz of paired 700 MHz spectrum near key Qualcomm offices to help the company's research and development teams deploy their mobile broadband technologies in order to fine-tune those technologies for deployment to customers and Qualcomm partners.

The FCC announced auction results on March 20 (story here), but Qualcomm and other winners were limited on commenting until the Commission's anti-collusion quiet period rules ended last week.

Last week, Verizon and AT&T announced their intentions for the spectrum they won in the FCC auction (story here).

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