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Round Two: DBS Companies Top Wireless Bidding - Broadcasting & Cable

Round Two: DBS Companies Top Wireless Bidding

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Round two of the FCC's likely weeks-long advanced wireless services slugfest is over, with the bids now totaling $933,488,900 for 488 licenses and EchoStar and DirecTV, teaming up for the auction, bidding the most.

That second-round figure is up from $768,890,300 for 469 licenses for round one of the bidding, which will climb into the many-billions as the auction progresses. The auction is expected to bring anywhere between $6 billion and $20 billion in revenue to the federal treasury.

There were two, two-hour bidding periods Wednesday, 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.

Top bidders at the moment are EchoStar and DirecTV, which have joined forced as Wireless DBS LLC, according to Dow Jones MarketWatch.

Wireless DBS LLC has so far bid $282,483 dollars on 13 licenses, looking to line up enough spectrum for a wireless broadband service they can bundle with their video to match the triple-play ambitions--voice, video and data--or their cable and telco competition.

The Dolan Family Holdings--the family is headed by Cablevision chief Charles Dolan--is the fourth-highest bidder at $88,851,000 for 5 licenses.

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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