FCC Auction: Round III: T-Mobile Tops DBS

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With three rounds completed in the FCC's auction of spectrum for advanced wireless services, T-Mobile is the top bidder at $226,585,000 for 25 licenses.

Wireless DBS LLC, which includes EchoStar and DirecTV, and the leading bidder after round two, is in second place, with top bids on 10 licenses totaling $160,935,000. That's down from its round two total of top bids for 13 licenses and $282,483,000.

In the first two rounds Wednesday, top bids were received on 469 licenses for a total of $759,921,100, followed by bids for 488 licenses totaling 897,816,095 in round two. The third round total topped the billion-dollar mark at $1,097,567,600 for 516 licenses.

The auction is expected to last weeks and bring anywhere between $6 billion and $20 billion in revenue to the federal treasury.

There were two, two-hour bidding periods Wednesday, and three scheduled for Thursday, with bidding continuing every business day--the number of rounds and their duration could expand--until no more bids are submitted for the 1,122 licenses up for auction.

The spectrum was reclaimed from government use and is being auctioned for advanced wireless services like broadband. Broadcast spectrum reclaimed after the digital transition is being similarly auctioned next year.

The Dolan Family Holdings--the family is headed by Cablevision chief Charles Dolan--was the fourth-highest bidder at $88,851,000 for 5 licenses in round two, but had dropped to high bidder on only three licenses for a total $60,237,000 and seventh place for total bid amount.

Bidding is online--sort of like eBay for wireless--but with only a single bid per two-hour round--from 168 qualififed bidders. They include the major wireless players, many smaller companies, as well as the DBS companies.

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