Blog Post

AWS Over, Finally

Stay on Top of Enterprise Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

Updated, 09/19/06: After more than a month of bidding on the AWS wireless spectrum, the hotly contested auction was becoming a bit of a snooze. Even we were getting tired of following the slow-moving process in its closing days. But today the FCC said the auction ended with almost $14 billion in total bids after 161 rounds and 1,087 licenses won. The FCC called it the most successful auction of the public airwaves in history. UBS Research adds:

$0.53 per MHz per POP. Spectrum values have historically ranged from a low of $0.15 per MHz per POP (Auction 22 in 1999) to a high of $4.74 per MHz per POP for the 10 MHZ of spectrum in the New York city BTA that was sold by NextWave to Verizon Wireless

The big spenders have been obvious for weeks, and finally ended up with T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, SpectrumCo (the cable consortium), MetroPCS and Cingular spending the most. At the beginning of the auction it seemed like non traditional wireless companies could use the auction to get a jump into wireless – but the funds from the cell phone companies won out and only the cable consortium was able to keep in top winners. Now the winners just have to pony up the money to get their goods.

Chart by Daily Wireless which has a very indepth article on the auctions.

Select Highlights from the auction:

1. Verizon Wireless was very active in Auction 66, securing 13 licenses in the Northeast, Southeast, Great Lakes, Mississippi Valley and Louisiana.
2. T-Mobile was aggressive in acquiring spectrum licenses in the North East of US.
3. 65% of the licenses MetroPCS won are in the Northeast, which means they have expansion plans and could plan to go national.

Photo by Joe Kratz via Flickr.

7 Responses to “AWS Over, Finally”

  1. Jesse Kopelman

    $0.53/pop/MHz seems very low given that the FCC valued the national 1900 MHz license they traded to Nextel in return for some 800 MHz at $1.73/pop/MHz. If you remember, at the time, Verizon was saying this was too low and that they would pay more if the FCC auctioned it off instead! What this should tell you is that people in the know think it will be years before these AWS licenses are actually useable. I don’t know if this is more a factor of incumbants that need to be relocated, disinterest by vendors in supporting this frequency profile, or a combination of the two. I wouldn’t expect to see T-Mobile putting this to use for a couple of years yet, unless they’ve got a few billion more up their sleave to handle such issues.

    Meanwhile, I bet Verizon will deploy something based on Flarion (with the equipment heavily subsidized by Qualcomm) in their new spectrum.