The FCC’s first auction of Advanced Wireless Service (“AWS”) spectrum licenses ended on September 18. A total of 1,122 licenses were offered in the auction, and 104 bidders won 1,087 licenses. The AWS licenses can be used to provide any of a wide array of innovative wireless services and technologies, including voice, data, video, and other wireless broadband services offered over Third Generation (“3G”) mobile networks.
The licenses offered in the auction encompassed a range of geographic area and megahertz sizes in order to accommodate the varying spectrum needs of different types of wireless providers, including those serving rural areas. Auction No. 66 began on August 9, 2006, and closed after 161 rounds of bidding, raising total gross bids of nearly $13.9 billion. The top five winning bidders based on the net amount of their winning bids include: T-Mobile License LLC; Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless; SpectrumCo LLC; MetroPCS AWS, LLC; and Cingular AWS, LLC.
More than half of the winning bidders in the auction certified their qualifications as small business entities, enabling them to use bidding credits. The unsold licenses remain held by the FCC and will be made available again in a future auction. In a separate press release, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin described the auction as “the biggest, most successful wireless auction in the Commission’s history.”
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