THE WINNERS of the FCC wireless spectrum auction were posted yesterday.
Verizon Wireless and AT&T won most of the spectrum blocks that were up for bid, with Qualcomm, newcomer Frontier Wireless and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's Vulcan Spectrum also picking up some licences.
Google didn't win any blocks, meaning it likely won't be turning into a wireless telecom company anytime soon.
Verizon Wireless, which is a joint venture of the large telecoms Verizon and Vodaphone, bid $9.4 billion to win almost all of the licences in the coveted C block that Google had bid on, thus forcing it open to all software and devices.
AT&T bid $6.6 billion for B block licences that it said give it coverage in "100 per cent of the top 200 markets." AT&T also claimed that it "will have quality spectrum available for new services covering 95 per cent of the U.S. population."
Licences in the B and C blocks are in the 700MHz range, which is said to be desired because signals in that portion of the spectrum penetrate buildings and other cityscape infrastructure better than frequencies in other ranges.
Frontier Wireless won nearly enough licences to cobble together a nationwide footprint. Qualcomm also won some B and E block licences, and Paul Allen's Vulcan Spectrum (not Volecan? Ed.) won some A block licences covering the Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington areas.
The FCC auctioned off wireless spectrum that will be freed up when the US transitions to all-digital television. The auction brought in $19.6 billion, about twice what the FCC had initially expected to raise.
FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said he had ordered an investigation to discover why a block of spectrum reserved for a nationwide emergency communications network failed to attract a winning bid. µ
Sign up for INQbot – a weekly roundup of the best from the INQ