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Almost all major carriers will participate in next spectrum auction

80 total entities submitted applications to bid in the upcoming auction.
October 2, 2014

Several months ago, AT&T, Verizon and others threatened to sit out the next spectrum auction due to regulators reserving spectrum for smaller rivals. AT&T went so far as to file a complaint with the FCC threatening to sit out the upcoming auction. Unfortuately for AT&T, the FCC all but laughed in AT&T’s face which forced AT&T to accept the FCC’s decision on the new rules.

“All who want to participate in the auction will be able to bid,” Wheeler said in a statement. “In order to assure coverage and competition in rural America it may be necessary to assure no one can monopolize the bidding.” – Reuters

The auction is scheduled to begin on November 13 and is expected to raise at least $10 billion, with a reserve price set at $10.65 billion. All entities that submit applications must include an upfront payment by October 15 to confirm participation. Two portions of the spectrum are currently used by a number of federal agencies, including the Department of Defense. 1,614 AWS licences will be up for grabs in the 1695-1710-MHz, 1755-1780-MHz and 2155-2180-MHz bands.

We now know that three of the four largest U.S. wireless carriers and Dish Network will be bidding at the FCC’s November auction of airwaves, thanks to applications released yesterday by the FCC. 80 total entities submitted applications to bid in the upcoming auction of frequencies known as AWS-3. As expected, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile have all indicated interest in participating in the auction. Although 47 of the applications were deemed incomplete by the FCC, it is not uncommon for carriers to fix those applications before the October 15 deadline.


Missing from that list is Sprint, the No. 3 mobile carrier. Last month, Sprint admitted that they would not be bidding in this auction so that they can have more money for spectrum going forward (specifically, so that Sprint can acquire a lot of low-frequency airwaves).

Some have been surprised by Dish Networks participation but it should be noted that Dish has been rumored to be looking for a network partnership with all major mobile operators.