Surprise Player Joins Spectrum Auction


GavelThose television owners who have let the FCC know of their initial interest in the upcoming spectrum auction have let the commission know, though they have until March 29 to make a final decision.

Wireless companies like AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon have expressed at least initial interest in bidding on the frequencies television owners relinquish. The deadline to notify the FCC is this week. Cash-strapped Sprint has already said it’s sitting this one out.

However now a surprise category of participants has emerged — venture capital and investment firms.

Northern-Virginia-based Columbia Capital intends to bid, sources indicate to the Washington Post. The firm founded by Virginia Democratic Sen. Mark Warner and other related firms have been doing what television owners have been doing for several months, studying analysis of whether and how it would be worth it to take part. “Everyone knows there’s going to be huge demand for spectrum over time and no one knows when the next auction of such good quality and quantity of spectrum will occur. So on both the buy and sell side, everyone wants to show up and see where it goes,” one source told the Post.

Cable companies are weighing their potential prospects too as they decide whether to expand into cellular service. Comcast said last week it intends to take part in the auction.