AWS Auctions Recap: Updated

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Updated for Round 5: After Round 5, the total bid amounts came to $1.47 billion in total bids, and $1.45 billion in net bids. Wireless DBS moved to the top with $352.5 million, followed by T-Mobile with $324.7 million, SpectrumCo with $212.3 million. Further down in the mix are Cingular with $123.7 million and the group tied to Verizon Wireless with $100.9 million. We’ll update again when the bids get a bit higher. They should pick up in a few days — or at least the government probably hopes they will.

Updated for Round 3: August 10, 2006: The bidding for the third round just finished and the new totals are $1.09 billion total bids and $1.05 billion in net bids for the auction so far. T-Mobile is at the top with $226.58 million, followed by Wireless DBS, the satellite consortium with $160.93 million, and SpectrumCo, the cable group with $150.32 million. Verizon put down $111.43 million, the Dolan Family had $60.23 million and Cingular with $28.05 million.

After two rounds of bidding for the AWS Spectrum auction and nearly a billion dollars has already been put down on the table for valuable wireless spectrum — $933.5 million in total bids, and $897.8 million in net bids. The auction is offering 1,122 licenses to 168 qualified bidders, and is predicted to bring in anywhere between $7 billion to $15 billion. So expect another few days, and billions of more dollars, from the companies scrambling to fulfill their wireless dreams.

(These numbers below are for the end of Round 2, see the top for latest up-to-date figures) As analysts had speculated, T-Mobile has been trying to boost its lack of spectrum by putting down around $558 $121 million in bids, RCR Wireless has a nice wrap-up of T-Mobile and Round One of the auctions. Following T-Mobile, the highly-watched media consortia, Wireless DBS, the group tied to EchoStar and DirecTV among others, and SpectrumCo, the group tied to cable groups with a reportedly minor stake from Sprint Nextel, bid hundreds of millions likely hoping to get into the wireless broadband business.

Wireless DBS put down around $313 $282.49 million, while SpectrumCo bid $154 $106.9 million. (Update: I added the numbers from round 1 and 2 for the earlier numbers, also I will continue to update during the day to reflect new rounds). Reuters has a full recap.

The two traditionally non-wireless media companies were more aggressive than most of the other wireless carriers that haven’t broken the hundred million mark yet. A group tied to Verizon Wireless bid $62.36 million, and Cingular so far has bid a total of $67 $44.56 million.

A surprisingly aggressive bidder is a group called The Dolan Family, backed by Charles Dolan, Cablevision’s Chairman. In the FCC filings he’s the only person listed on the ownership list, in comparison to the cable group SpectrumCo that has a long list of direct and indirect partial owners. Dolan bid $122 $88.85 million so far – more than Verizon Wireless and Cingular. Maybe he’s thinking about battling his competitors through wireless.

But its only Day one, and Round two of the bidding — Round three is already coming soon. We’ll bring more details later on.

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Jesse Kopelman

Despite not needing any more spectrum, I knew Verizon and Cingular wouldn’t be able to resist bidding. It’s waafer thin . . !

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