The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has listed the bidders for the upcoming U.S. government auction of television airwaves that are expected to fetch tens of billions of dollars.
The FCC is buying airwaves from local TV stations and reselling the spectrum to companies that operate cellular networks.
The application procedure for the "Broadcast Incentive Auction" is scheduled to begin on March 29, 2016. The FCC has listed the applications that are complete, or those which have been found to be incomplete or otherwise deficient.
Bidders include affiliates of Comcast, Dish, AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc., and T-Mobile U.S. Inc., while some outsiders also emerge, including telecom operators from North Dakota to New Mexico. Sprint Corp. isn’t on the list.
Participants also include Social Capital Rama Spectrum Holdings LLC, which is connected to Chamath Palihapitiya, a venture capitalist and former Facebook executive, Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc., the biggest owner of TV stations in the U.S., and Puerto Rico Telephone Company Inc., which is owned by telecom billionaire Carlos Slim’s America Movil SAB.
Dish was the big buyer in the last FCC auction but hasn’t put that spectrum to use for cellphone service. Cable-TV provider Comcast has said it is exploring entering the wireless phone business.
The FCC will release a public notice listing all applicants qualified to bid in the auction, at least 15 business days before bidding in the initial stage of auction begins.