Wireless Auction Heats Up In The 9th


The AWS spectrum auction really heated up in the ninth round of bidding, bringing the total amount of bids to $3.58 billion and net bids at $3.49 billion. That’s a jump of over a billion dollars from the eighth round, which brought in a total $2.43 billion and a net of $2.40 billion. As the auction moves along, expect the bids to move even higher and higher as the bidding frenzy could bring in a total estimated between $7 billion and $15 billion.

While we’re waiting for the FCC to help us parse out the individual top bidders of the 9th round, the 8th round was dominated by T-Mobile, which bid $1.11 billion in an attempt to boost its lack of spectrum. The Dolan Family, backed by Charles Dolan, Cablevision’s Chairman, followed T-Mobile with $227 million, the cable group SpectrumCo bid $212 million, and Echostar/DirecTV consortium called Wireless DBS bid $141 million.

A quick look at some of the 9th round data suggests SpectrumCo is playing big this round, but we’ll update those findings in a bit.

Update: Also the 10th round just finished and RCR Wireless posts the details, bringing the bidding to $4.14 billion in total bids.


Jesse Kopelman

And, as of Round 16, Verizon Wireless is back and has surpassed T-Mobile as the overall top bidder . . . I know me my Verizon Wireless. No major US carrier has surprised me in a long time.

DG Lewis

Of course, as of round 13, VZW’s bidding dropped to less than half of their required activity, they lost all their provisional winning bids, and used a waiver. Which just shows that one round is too small a sample size to use for analyzing anyone’s behavior.

That said, Wireless DBS (DirecTV/Echostar) has almost dropped off the map, used proactive waivers in rounds 12 and 13, and didn’t bid at all in round 13. Any thoughts on what’s up with them? Dropping out? Out late partying last night?

Jesse Kopelman

Looks like with Round 12, Verizon decided to make a move. I’m guessing this spectrum will play a key roll in their response to Sprint’s recent “4G” announcement. Given that it is unlikely that frequency duplexed profiles are going to be big under WiMax, I’d expect the win on this one to go to Qualcomm and the Flarion technology. Perhaps, this move by Verizon is even motivated by a nervous Qualcomm whispering in their ear and planting visions of dirt cheap “802.20” equipment.

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