The Federal Communications Commission brought in $2.25 billion in an auction of 242 spectrum licenses, which ended last week. Most licenses cover rural areas but include cities such as Houston and Los Angeles.
Verizon Wireless and partner Vista PCS led the pack, winning a combined 63 licenses with almost $697.4 million in bids. Royal Street Communications, a partner of Metro PCS Communications, bid $387.4 million for a mere six licenses, but they included space in the coveted Los Angeles market. T-Mobile partner Cook Inlet bid $255.5 million for 36 licenses.
The licenses were at the heart of an eight-year battle that began when NextWave Telecom won a large swath of spectrum in a previous auction but later went bankrupt and couldnt pay for it. Last April, NextWave agreed to return 1,550MHz of that spectrum to the FCC; this comprised the licenses that were auctioned last week.