Spectrum Auction: Verizon Big Winner, Google ‘Happy Loser’

Posted: September 9, 2008 in 2008, Articles

Silicon Alley Insider:

The FCC has released the winners of its latest spectrum auction, which finished Tuesday evening.

The big winner: Verizon Wireless, which spent $9.4 billion on airwaves, including the coveted “C” block — on which it will have to allow subscribers to use any compatible wireless device and run any software application they want.

The “happy loser,” as coined by Stifel Nicolaus analyst Blair Levin: Google (GOOG), which didn’t win any licenses but gets its wish of “open access.”

AT&T (T), the biggest U.S. wireless carrier, spent $6.6 billion on licenses; satellite giant EchoStar (SATS) spent $711 million.

As expected, the FCC will “de-link” — i.e. “figure out what to do about” — the “D” block, whose only bidder was Qualcomm (QCOM). Qualcomm’s bid didn’t reach the block’s $1.3 billion reserve price, so the FCC will “will consider its options for how to license this spectrum in the future.”

Levin says in a note that the auction’s anti-collusion rules should lift on April 3, after which auction participants — like MetroPCS (PCS) and Leap (LEAP) — can talk M&A and discuss other stategic options again.

What will the winners do with the airwaves they’ve just bought? See our handy scorecard.

See Also: Spectrum Auction. Winners Are In. What’s Next?

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