Auction Fever: Verizon to do Alltel's bidding?

As Wednesday approaches and the FCC readies its auction block for spectrum intended for 3G services, the rumor mill is churning with talks of Alltel's conspicuous absence from the event. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, the wireless pureplay could have a pinch hitter in the bidding: Verizon Wireless. Alltel, which carries service in the West and Midwest parts of the U.S., needs to build out its offerings to stay competitive with the big four's 3G services, but Alltel CEO Scott Ford says, "We're just very underimpressed with the quality of the spectrum being auctioned." While the auctions in 2008 will include spectrum at lower radio frequencies that can penetrate walls more easily and travel longer distances, industry insiders say Verizon Wireless is a potential acquirer of Alltel, and it already has registered in the auction.

For more on the politics of spectrum auctions:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)