US expects billion from bidders of wireless licenses

High-speed Internet access, streaming video, music downloads and other special new features may soon be in store for mobile phone owners, thanks to an unprecedented airwaves auction, an Associated Press report said.

The report said the auction, conducted by the Federal Communications Commission, had attracted 168 interested bidders, each hoping to offer the next generation of wireless services.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated the sale would raise between $10 billion and $15 billion for the US Treasury, the report said.

Already, it had brought in $4.3 billion from bidders who made payments simply to qualify to participate, the report said.

The top qualifier was Wireless DBS LLC, an alliance that included two competing direct broadcast satellite providers: EchoStar Communications and the DirecTV Group. The bidders paid $972.5 million, the report said.

Second was SpectrumCo, a consortium of Comcast, Time Warner, Sprint Nextel, Cox Communications, and Bright House Networks, with $637.7 million. Third was T-Mobile at $583.5 million, which was expected to be among the most aggressive bidders.