AT&T will pay $18.2B as top bidder in mobile spectrum auction

Dish Network will pay about $10 billion, but its plans for the spectrum are unclear

AT&T spent nearly US$18.2 billion on wireless spectrum licenses in a blockbuster mobile-auction spectrum for licenses across the U.S., far outspending the other major U.S. carriers and satellite service provider Dish Network.

The AWS-3 auction, the biggest sale of mobile spectrum since 2008, went on for about two and a half months and brought in a far higher total than expected.

The auction raised $41.3 billion in net bids, which will go toward the FirstNet national public-safety network and some national debt reduction. The bidding on 1,611 spectrum licenses around the U.S. far exceeded expectations, indicating that mobile operators are still eager to build up capacity in their networks.

The three bands of AWS-3 spectrum, totaling 65MHz, will let mobile operators add more capacity to their LTE networks, serving more subscribers with faster service. AT&T said the licenses it acquired would give it a block of spectrum covering 96 percent of the U.S. population, which the carrier plans to deploy starting around 2017.

Verizon Wireless was the second-biggest bidder, laying out $10.4 billion, and T-Mobile USA, the nation's fourth-largest mobile operator, bid $1.8 billion. They're key rivals to AT&T for LTE services. But the motives of the second-place bidder, Dish Network, are less clear. Through affiliate companies, Dish bid a total of about $10 billion even though it doesn't yet operate a mobile service. Some analysts suspect the company hopes to either partner with an existing carrier or just lease the spectrum to other operators.

On Thursday, the FCC announced the auction had brought in provisional bids of $44.9 billion. The net amount disclosed on Friday accounts for factors such as bidding credits to some types of bidders.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags DISH Networkat&tregulationgovernmentT-Mobile USAVerizon Wireless

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?