back to article AT&T and Verizon thrash rivals with $16bn spectrum swipe

AT&T and Verizon Wireless barreled through the auction of some prized US airways, shelling out $16bn to keep data humming across their cross-country networks. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the big winners on Thursday and re-confirmed that a total of $19.6bn went toward the 700MHz spectrum auction. The …


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  1. Peter


    Google didn't lose - d'oh. It forced the C block to be open, and didn't have to actually pay. Only bid to the reserve. That's really smart.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Women and Minorities?

    What exactly is he talking about? Are there womanly companies out there? If he's angry about either, bug the companies to promote a woman or a gay or a 'colored' person or a little kid or a retarded (wait, covered there) person or a....whatever to the CEO position.

    Anyway, good about the openness.

  3. Telebusillis

    Own Gooooal

    Voda/Verizon didn't lose - d'oh. Now they can decide how open they want the C block to be. Buy the Open and decide the rules on what open means and how much people have to pay to use the open spectrum. That's really smart...

    And if no-one uses it? Who cares - they have a tonne of spectrum elsewhere earning duopoly profits...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    says stupid like a governmental droid.

    "It’s an outrage that we’ve failed to counter the legacy of discrimination that has kept women and minorities from owning their fair share of the spectrum."

    This quote either shows the fundamental lack of understanding that is all too common in government circles or finally tells the truth. In theory, the spectrum is the mythical "commons" of the famous tragedy and is owned by all but has been stolen, essentially at gunpoint, by government.

  5. heystoopid
    Paris Hilton


    So to pay for all this that would mean a minimum of satellite telephone rates at least !

    Truly a wallet vacuum phone service indeed !

  6. TeeCee Gold badge
    Thumb Down


    It's an auction.

    Who wins is decided by the simple process of whoever's bid the most for x, gets x.

    I'm fairly sure that all* minority groups are perfectly capable of working this one out for themselves, unlike FCC commissioner Adelstein it seems. There obviously is somebody at a serious disadvantage here and if he really wants to know who, he should look in the mirror.

    *This is an IT site. IT users outnumber IT professionals therefore, in this world, braindead morons are a majority.

  7. John Saunders

    "Open" C Block

    Verizon and friends have managed to undo many of the positive effects of the telecom act of 1996. As Telebusillis says, the purchase will prevent the open block from being meaningfully used. Considering the money Verizon has spent laying fiber and getting screwy court decisions just to escape regulation, the "Open" C block may disappoint.

    The differences in bids is interesting. One wonders now why Google bothered. I was looking forward to them causing trouble.

  8. Fibbles

    Women And Minorities?

    This spectrum was sold via an auction and surely by definition the winner in an auction is the person or company that can put forward the most cash. It's a system that totally ignores race, religion and gender. I honestly can't think of a fairer way of doing things in that regard...

  9. Brett Brennan

    Sprint's Salvation

    It seems that Sprint may have known something was brewing when it started back-peddling on WiMAX. With the C block going to "the usual suspects", all Sprint has to do is use the 2.5GHz slots to "match" whatever at&t and Verizon do. Which is, most likely, to provide backhaul rather than lots of new services.

    Face it: US$9B or US$6B is a LOT of cash, but, compared to having to build out FTTH or other "brick and mortar" technology, it's cheap. Or at least cost-neutral. So Verizon and at&t could use this to simply support their existing infrastructure, drain some more profit out of their sunk costs, and wait for something really new and pressing to come along.

    Sprint, on the other hand, is kind of happily fence-sitting. If Verizon or at&t challenge them, they can deliver WiMAX at the drop of a hat - faster than the block C could be built out by the other cellcos. If the others decide to do backhaul only, well, that's kinda what Sprint was think about anyway, so once again, they're covered. And if Verizon and at&t don't do jack with the new spectrum...well, Sprint can do what ever they want.

    It's funny: I've been a Nextel/Sprint customer for well over a decade. Now, I DO have telco operations experience - days spent at BellSouth, AT&T, and even some brief time at Sprint - so I can actually help the CSR when they're having problems getting an account set up. This has proven to be a god-send to them when things were quite pear-shaped last year. I also am lucky to be switching from Nextel to Sprint, and therefore get the Nextel support team first, rather than Sprint. Nextel staff has proven to be professional, very concerned and quite willing to listen to me when I make suggestions - unlike the Sprint folks. (Indeed, I've actually had a second-line supervisor on the phone for over three hours tracking down an issue - something you've NOT going to get from at&t without a pot-full more lines than I have!) All in all my experience here has been excellent: I might be the ONLY satisfied customer in the world, but by God, I AM satisfied.

    That's my nickel's worth. I'm probably wrong from square zero, but you never can tell...

  10. Chris C

    Women and minorities

    Call me sexist, racist, or whatever else you'd like. But when we start treating *ANYBODY* as special, be it women, blacks, Mexicans, or Puerto Ricans (no, the government still doesn't consider gays to be a minority because it still doesn't want to acknowledge them), then it is no longer equality. When affirmative action forces a company to hire a "minority" instead of a "white" person, how do you call that equality? The ideology behind the laws and thoughts are well-intentioned, as there most definitely still are negative attitudes towards entire groups of people for no good reason, but giving them special additional rights means there is no longer equality. Why should a woman or a "minority" person be considered the winner of an auction when somebody else placed a higher bid? Should the same be applied to other markets as well? If somebody is selling a house, can a woman buy it for $100,000 even if a man bids $150,000 for it? Equality means just that -- equal. Equality does not mean one group of people is treated worse or another group of people is treated better. Of course, the worst and most insulting part of affirmative action is that an employer cannot refuse to hire somebody simply because they don't speak English. Yes, you read that correctly. It doesn't matter if you can communicate with your employees or not. It doesn't matter if they can perform the job or not (since performing the job necessitates speaking English with colleagues, customers, suppliers, etc).

    And where does it end? As mentioned above, the only legally-acknowledged "minorities" are blacks, Mexicans, and Puerto Ricans. "Minority" simply means less than the majority. I'm 5'6". For a male, that's short. So height-wise, I am in the minority. Should I get special treatment? I'm in IT; most of this country's citizens are not. Therefore, I'm a minority based on that as well. Women outnumber men in this country, so I'm a minority there, too. Using the word "minority" is a stupid idea, and is a very slippery slope. I would venture a guess that every person in the world is a minority in some way or another.

    Then again, we supposedly have separation of church and state, and yet the Presidential inauguration and court oaths still end with "so help you god" or some such nonsense, and we still have "In God We Trust" on our currency. So I have no reason to believe that governmental hypocrisy will end in my lifetime.

  11. Mike

    Open Access

    As others have already pointed out, but to toss in my "me too": Open Access to VZW and ATT will most likely mean "send and receive all the data you want, at about one dollar per kilobyte". At best it will work out like Local Loop Unbundling, which is to say, "not really". And where they now only txt-spam me once a month or so (on my dime), they'll probably start sending 3-minute Flash movies once a week.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    White People are the New American Minority(tm)

    "It’s appalling that women and minorities were virtually shut out of this monumental auction. It’s an outrage ... This gives whole new meaning to 'white spaces' in the spectrum."

    Lady, America is being overtaken by illegal immigration to the point that WHITE PEOPLE are the New American Minority(tm).

    So, by fiat, 100% of the spectrum went to minorities!

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