Published: Fri, April 14, 2017
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

Mobile, Dish bid combined $14 billion in USA airwaves auction: FCC

Mobile, Dish bid combined $14 billion in USA airwaves auction: FCC

The auction, which started previous year, will pay out $10 billion to 175 TV broadcasters that sold off their licenses.

The FCC on Thursday also announced new channel assignments (and the dates those assignments will go into effect) for 957 non-winning stations that must change channels to clear the airwaves for wireless use.

The FCC on Thursday concluded its auction to repurpose spectrum that previously carried broadcast TV signals, and T-Mobile is the biggest victor.

Verizon opted not to bid despite previously committing to the auction. "Consumers are the real beneficiaries, as broadcasters invest new resources in programming and service, and additional wireless spectrum opens the way to greater competition and innovation in the mobile broadband marketplace".

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While Dish has hinted that it might use its vast trove of spectrum to build out some kind of internet-of-things network, possibly using NB-IoT network technology, many in the industry believe that it's more likely that Dish will simply ink a spectrum sale or leasing agreement with a company like T-Mobile, Comcast or - most likely - Verizon. This low-band spectrum, in the 600MHz range, is highly coveted by mobile carriers because it can cover long distances and penetrate walls and other obstacles. And New Jersey Public Broadcasting, the biggest victor among non-commercial stations, will receive a total of $332 million for agreeing to relocate two stations.

Your wireless coverage may soon get a lot better thanks to the FCC's latest spectrum auction. It was followed by Dish DISH, -2.52%, which spent $6.2 billion, and Comcast CMCSA, -0.40% with $1.7 billion. The company "just cleaned up", its CEO, John Legere, tweeted. Many analysts had expected broadcasters to earn more and sell more spectrum.

Leading up to the Incentive Auction, T-Mobile had been touting that they were going to essentially clean house in this auction. One hundred seventy-five TV stations will get almost $10.1 billion of the auction proceeds, while the USA treasury will get $7.3 billion.

Television broadcasters that gave up their spectrum holdings as part of the auction's reverse bidding process are now on the clock to give up those licenses over the next 39 months. "It's now imperative that we move forward with equal zeal to ensure a successful post-auction transition, including a smooth and efficient repacking process".

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