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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

AWS-1 Auction - Day 5 Summary

A wild day – methinks the beginning of the end of the auction.

AWS-1 Day5

Wireless DBA aka Echostar / DirectTV / Rupert Murdoch / John Malone are out!

This is despite the placing of the biggest deposit of US$$972,546,000, they will be exiting with absolutely nothing and they have American Cellular Corporation to thank that they have not been left with 15MHz covering Alaska. American Cellular Corporation is part of Dobson Communication Corporation and already offers service in Alaska. Theoretically Wireless DBA are still in the Auction, but in practice they will exit in Round19.

The next biggest story of the day is that Verizon Wireless took a waiver at the start of the day in Round 13: T-Mobile won every “F” license. In Round14, Verizon Wireless came back strongly and won every “F” license. Then in Round 15, T-Mobile didn’t bid on every “F” license. Strangely in Round16, Verizon Wireless didn’t bid enough to maintain its’ activity level and now does not have enough “bidding units” left to win a license covering the whole of mainland USA. I thought when Verizon Wireless used its’ waiver first thing in the morning that it was going to come back with bids on the smaller BEA and CMA licenses which are still relatively cheap. It is almost as if Verizon Wireless were bluffing to get T-Mobile to pay as much as possible for “F” bands and it has all gone wrong. T-Mobile still have a huge number of bidding units available equating to over 40MHz of nationwide spectrum – the only thing stopping them now buying a huge amount of spectrum and securing the future is the size of the parent’s wallet.

SpectrumCo have now moved into the BEA and CMA bands and are still bidding heavily and have the equivalent of 37MHz of nationwide spectrum left to bid on. Cingular have come off slightly as well, but can still, just, buy a nationwide 20MHz license.

Tomorrow, I expect the bidding on the supa-regional blocks – D/E/F to slow to a trickle and the action to move to the CMA and BEA blocks – A/B/C. But I could be wrong (again)…