Big Telcos are Big Winners in US Analog Airwaves Auction

24 March 2008

WASHINGTON DC: US media and telecoms regulator, the Federal Communications Commission, has revealed the results of its analog airwaves auction, which ended last week, netting a $19.6 billion (€12.4bn; £9.7bn) windfall for the government.

The biggest winner is Verizon Wireless, which spent $9.4bn to acquire airwaves to be freed-up when the nation completes its digital broadcasting switchover in February next year. 
The giant telco says it has now achieved the "spectrum depth we need to continue to grow our business and data revenues [and help] satisfy the next wave of services and consumer electronics devices".

Rival AT&T spent $6.6bn billion on the analog spectrum to promote "new-generation" wireless broadband.

The outcome raises concerns that the auction failed to attract any significant new challengers in the market. Online search giant Google was outbid and is now unlikely to enter the wireless business.

FCC chairman Kevin J Martin, nonetheless declared himself happy with the result: "A bidder other than a nationwide incumbent won a license in every market."

Consequently, he said, there is potential for a "wireless third-pipe" broadband competitor to emerge in every market across the nation.

Data sourced from USA; additional content by WARC staff