AT&T, T-Mobile US and Verizon Wireless — three of the four largest US operators — plus Dish Network threw their hats in the ring for November’s spectrum auction, according to an initial list of applications published by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Few other familiar names jumped out from the list of 80 bidders. However, it is possible well-known names are hiding behind anonymous-sounding registrations.
One other household name on the list is Docomo Pacific, which runs a network in Guam.
The AWS-3 auction is scheduled to start on 13 November.
Dish applied under the name of American AWS-3 Wireless. Reuters noted that two other companies on the list, Northstar Wireless and SNR Wireless LicenseCo, had bidding agreements with Dish. The satellite broadcaster had indirect ownership in both firms.
Verizon Wireless is registered under the name of Cellco Partnerhsip d/b/a Verizon Wireless.
And more spectrum is due to come on sale in mid-2015 as the FCC woos reluctant TV broadcasters to give up frequencies via an incentive-based auction. The regulator has launched a roadshow to sway broadcasters.
However, the National Association of Broadcasters has challenged the FCC’s proposal in court.
FCC chairman Tom Wheeler wants to see more interest in next year’s auction from the mobile industry.
Addressing the recent CTIA Super Mobility Week event, Wheeler said: “Let’s talk turkey. Many broadcasters have been led to believe that demand for spectrum is not as the [mobile] industry has claimed. As a result, they believe carriers will not fully participate in auction.”
“If the operators don’t’ put their money where mouths are then the future of spectrum policy will look a lot different,” he added in a separate comment.
Wheeler was “heartened” by AT&T and Dish’s “strong interest” in the mid-2015 auction. However, he commented: “We saw reports of strong interest from T-Mobile and Sprint wanting to bid jointly. The rest of the industry has been strangely silent.”