And so ends the advanced wireless services (AWS) auction, with a hefty $13.7 billion in the kitty--a bit short of the government's hoped for $15 billion, but no complaints yet. Of the 162 original bidders, 104 ended up winning at least one of the 1,087 licenses and nearly half qualified as small businesses. The government will cut the small businesses a $180 million break, which brings the total $13.8 billion in bids down to $13.7 billion net. T-Mobile came out on top, as expected, paying $4.2 billion for 102 licenses. Verizon's Cellco partnership took the silver with winning bids totaling $2.8 billion and the Sprint-cable company consortium trailed in third with $2.4 billion. MetroPCS and Cingular filled the remaining top five spots. Analysts say the companies will use the spectrum to improve coverage and to enable 3G data services to run better.
The winning bidders must keep quiet about their plans for the spectrum until the FCC processes all the paperwork and gives them the green light: Comcast, however, has indicated it does not want to become a fifth carrier in the wireless space, leading many to conclude the service provider is mulling over its own aircard offer for laptops to rival those sold by Verizon.
For more details on the spectrum blocks:
- check out this article from RCR News