The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) raised $44.9 billion in its AWS-3 auction of radio frequencies, with the likes of AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile US scrapping over the spoils.
The auction, which has been rolling on for some months, raised several times more than observers had expected, a reflection of operators’ hunger for additional capacity but also of its scarcity value. This is the agency’s first sale of new spectrum since 2008.
The contest was safely a record breaker — pulling in more than twice the previous highest amount from an auction of frequencies.
The FCC will disclose the actual winners over the next few days. Certainly, market leaders AT&T and Verizon Wireless are expected to feature prominently. So will T-Mobile US. From outside the mobile industry, Dish Network is expected to emerge as a big winner.
Few other familiar names jumped out from the list of bidders. However, it is possible well-known names are hiding behind anonymous-sounding registrations.
The other member of the ‘big four’ — Sprint —sat out the AWS-3 contest but is expected to be active in the FCC’s next bonanza in 2016.
The frequencies sold in AWS-3 were in the following bands: 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz and 2155-2180 MHz part of the spectrum.