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AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile All Register to Bid in Upcoming Wireless Spectrum Auction

It's part of a two-step auction the FCC is holding for airwaves being ceded by TV broadcasters in exchange for a portion of the proceeds.

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AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile are among 104 companies that have applied to participate in an upcoming auction for airwaves being given up by TV broadcasters.

The Federal Communications Commission on Friday released its list of companies that have registered to bid in this year’s auction. However, companies also use affiliates or subsidiaries so it’s sometimes a bit tough to immediately tell who is actually behind some of those registered to bid.

The auction is a two-part event, with broadcasters looking to sell airwaves taking part in a reverse auction with the government trying to get more than 100 MHz of spectrum at the lowest price possible. Then companies that want spectrum will have a traditional auction to bid on the available airwaves. For more details on the auction and how it works, check out Re/code’s handy explainer piece.

It comes about as TV broadcasters have more airwaves than they need thanks to the move to digital TV, while those that offer (or want to offer) cell service badly need more space to serve all the demand for Netflix, YouTube and other video content.

Some companies, such as Google and Sprint, had already said that they did not plan to bid. Others, including T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon and Comcast, had signaled they would participate.

In addition, an upstart backed by Social Capital’s Chamath Palihapitiya confirmed it planned to bid. Indeed, Social Capital Rama Spectrum Holdings was on the list of potential bidders.

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.