US satellite firms back out of wireless license sale

A joint venture of rival US satellite television providers DirecTV Group and EchoStar Communications bowed out of a US sale of valuable licenses for advanced wireless services, a Reuters report said.

The report said the Wireless DBS LLC venture initially showed strong interest in the auction and had paid the largest deposit, at $972.5 million, of all 168 bidders that qualified for the sale.
However, the group substantially reduced its participation, the report said.

Media conglomerate Liberty Media was also part of the satellite television bidding consortium, the report said.

The report said analysts were initially surprised by the level of interest of the top two satellite providers, but then said that the combined effort was likely an attempt to win airwaves they could use to offer high-speed Internet access.

The Federal Communications Commission sale of 1,122 licenses had already raised more than $9 billion, and analysts had forecast that the sale could raise as much as $15 billion, the report said.