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Large Wireless Carriers, Dish to Bid in Airwaves Auction

The auction is expected to raise at least $10 billion.


Three of the four largest U.S. wireless carriers and satellite provider Dish Network plan to bid in the Federal Communications Commission’s November auction of airwaves, according to initial applications released on Wednesday.

As expected, the largest U.S. wireless carrier, Verizon Communications, No. 2 AT&T Inc, No. 4 T-Mobile US and Dish appeared to be the largest companies to indicate an interest in bidding in the upcoming auction of frequencies known as AWS-3.

A total of 80 entities submitted initial applications. Interested parties, which may or may not actually bid for wireless licenses in the auction, included smaller U.S. companies such as Bluegrass Wireless and Big River Broadband, Guam-based wireless company Docomo Pacific and individual spectrum investors.

Scheduled to begin on Nov. 13, the auction is expected to raise at least $10 billion and will include airwaves previously occupied by multiple federal users, including the Department of Homeland Security.

AT&T’s initial application appeared to be incomplete, which can be caused by small bureaucratic omissions. Of the 80 applications, 47 were deemed incomplete and have to be properly finished by Oct. 15 to allow the companies to participate.

All initial applications have to put down an upfront payment by Oct. 15 to confirm participation.

Dish applied to bid in the auction as American AWS-3 Wireless I.

Sprint, the No. 3 mobile carrier, said last month it would sit out the AWS-3 auction to save firepower for the potential purchases of spectrum in a major sale of low-frequency airwaves scheduled for next year.

(Reporting by Alina Selyukh. Editing by Andre Grenon)

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