US News: 700 MHz auction is officially over

US News: 700 MHz auction is officially over

Verizon won seven of the twelve Regional Economic Area Groups (REAGs) in block C, which provides nationwide coverage in the continental US and Hawaii.

"The bids we won include a nationwide spectrum footprint covering 298 million Pops, plus 102 licences for individual markets covering 171 million Pops," said Verizon.

Other auction winners were listed on the Fierce Broadband Wireless website. Triad 700 won the Alaska and Puerto Rico/US Virgin Islands regional C Block slices, Small Ventures USA won a piece of the C Block that covers a part of the Gulf of Mexico, and Club 42 CM won the C Block slice that covers Guam, Northern Mariana Islands and America Samoa.

Unified Communications Strategies points out that AT&T and Verizon went after very different slices of the pie. AT&T focused on the restriction-free 12 MHz B Block; grabbing 227 out of 734 licences.

According to an Associated Press report, Verizon's win also gives it "control of the guest list to the open-access party."

While the winner must allow consumers to use any compatible device or software on it as long as it doesn't harm the network, industry analysts point out that, as the winner, Verizon will be the one making the rules and setting the schedule. Furthermore, Verizon hasn't announced how much it will charge for access to its network, raising the prospect of preferential treatment for its own devices.

Mobile Tech News quotes ABI Research senior analyst Nadine Manjaro: "These licences will enable Verizon to extend coverage into rural areas and potentially pose a significant threat to rural operators. In addition, since Verizon has announced plans to deploy LTE, it is highly likely that LTE will be deployed in this frequency band."

Manjaro says it's no surprise that Google didn't win. "Google just went in to get the networks opened up. They did achieve their goal of requiring that the networks be open to whatever devices they intend to bring to market, without incurring major costs.

Satellite TV company, EchoStar, won an almost-nationwide footprint in the E Block, and could be the new mobile broadband operator that the FCC hoped the 700 MHz auction would produce.

While EchoStar could potentially deploy mobile WiMAX services similar to those of Sprint and Clearwire, it only has six MHz of spectrum in each market, compared to Sprint's approximate 90 MHz in each market.

The D Block emergency services part of the spectrum failed to attract the required $1.3 million minimum bid, and Manjaro believes the FCC will re-run the D Block auction with new requirements – probably reducing the reserve price.

"We are very pleased with our auction results," commented Verizon. "Specifically, we were successful in achieving the spectrum depth we need to continue to grow our business and data revenues, to preserve our reputation as the nation's most reliable wireless network, and to continue to lead in data services and help us satisfy the next wave of services and consumer electronics devices."


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