Time to Hold the TV Auction Windfall Talk


Broadcast TowerHow much money wireless companies could bid for television spectrum at auction later this year has always been an estimate, and pundits warn the final figure could be far less than the estimated $45B the FCC earlier projected.

According to an average from eight analysts surveyed by Bloomberg the bids could total just $33B.

We’ve reported Sprint has said it won’t enter the auction, while telecom giants Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile are preparing auction-related strategies.

Less than a year ago, wireless companies bid in the FCC’s AWS-3 auction; that, plus the price war now going on between the largest carriers are now affecting how much wireless companies can bid for television spectrum this spring, according to analysts. Bloomberg finds potential bidders like tech companies, cable operators and satellite television operators are cautious about taking part in the auction, which could further dampen results.

Quotes about the value of the television spectrum to be bid on are all over the mark, from Verizon CFO Fran Shammo, who said last month its valuable, however “there are places I could use it,” but also places they can’t, to T-Mobile CFO Braxton Carter telling investors earlier this month the auction “is going to be a game-changer for us.”

Wireless carriers and others can file aoolications to bid from Jan. 26 to Feb. 9.


  1. Of course prospective buyers are talking down the price they will be required to pay. You don’t walk into a car dealer and say to the salesperson “I am desperate for this car and probably will have to pay top dollar”. Plus the analyses on which this story is based ignore multiple bidders who are certain to participate. Like in AWS, the total proceeds of this auction will exceed pre-auction predictions.

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