NextWave spectrum sale sparks share rise

US-based NextWave Wireless is looking to sell its vast holdings of licences for US spectrum, which are worth billions of dollars and could allow a new market entrant to create a nearly nationwide wireless network, an Associated Press report said.

The report said the firm had hired Deutsche Bank and UBS to assist in the sale of its spectrum holdings, which cover 85% of the US population. That includes markets like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco.

If valued according to the average price in the recent airwaves auction conducted by the Federal Communications Commission, NextWave's licences are worth US$6 billion (€3.8 billion).

However, it is unlikely it would get that much, since the radio characteristics of its spectrum make it more expensive to put to use, at least initially.

The company paid about US$500 million (€317 million) for the spectrum, according to George Alex, the company's chief financial officer.

NextWave shares rose 26% in midday trading last week.

The FCC's auction of licences in the 700Mhz band, which concluded in March, is one of the reasons NextWave has chosen to sell, Alex said in an interview.