KPN unit E-Plus has withdrawn a bid in Germany's mobile spectrum auction, but may still be forced to cough up the cash if no higher offers are made.
The company bid €8.6 million each for two blocks in the 800MHz band, but pulled one of its bids late yesterday without revealing why, WSJ.com said.
But unless rival bidders Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone Germany or Telefonica make a better offer, it will be forced honour its original pledge.
KPN beat out first-round winner O2 with the bids.
The auction attracted bids with a total value of €116.8 million in the first three rounds on Monday, growing to €123.9 million yesterday - including both E-Plus bids.
Moody's Investors Service estimates that the auctions will raise a combined €8.1 billion, while Commerzbank AG predicts a more modest €7.5 billion, BusinessWeek said.
During the most recent German spectrum auction in 2000, 3G license sales raised around €50 billion.
The auction includes 41 frequency blocks in the 800MHz, 1.8GHz, 2.0GHz and 2.6GHz bands.
E-Plus is the German mobile unit of Dutch operator KPN.