Government raises $19.8 billion in airwaves auction

Reuters

Verizon opted not to bid despite previously committing to the auction. Its Xfinity Mobile service will initially run on Verizon's wireless network.

"With this spectrum, we have further fuel to continue the skyrocketing growth at T-Mobile US", said Tim Höttges, CEO of Deutsche Telekom, about the results.

"Spectrum revenues must be used to support those who rely on locally produced news and information to engage with their neighbors, learn about volunteer opportunities, make decisions about voting, run for public office, get information about small businesses, and support their children in local schools", he said.

Other interested parties in the wireless industry again urged that the channel repack process happen as quickly as possible so the newly available 84 MHz of spectrum can be put to use soon for mobile services.

The largest station payout was $304 million to WWTO TV in Chicago that is owned by Trinity Christian Center.

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T-Mobile is quick to point out that the spectrum they purchased covers 100% of the United States and Puerto Rico, with a nationwide average of 31 MHz of spectrum acquired.

"The broadcasters showed up and, except for T-Mo, the carriers did not", said Preston Padden, a former Disney executive and a broadcast industry advocate. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) bid $1.72 billion and Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) splashed $6.21 billion.

The FCC auctioned off wireless spectrum that it bought from television broadcasters to help wireless providers meet the increasing demand created by smartphones.

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday announced the winners of its $19.8 billion spectrum auction. T-Mobile's win is a turnaround from January 2015, when AT&T and Verizon Wireless dominated a $41.3 billion auction.

Once T-Mobile start using frequencies it won in this spectrum auction, its coverage in the U.S.at frequencies below 1 GHz will almost equal Verizon's.

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T-Mobile spent a whopping $7.99 billion in this auction to pick up all of this spectrum, and it's going to be a big deal for customers.

Dish has always been amassing airwaves and has said it will build a wireless network.

T-Mobile says it will use the spectrum to "expand its LTE network to compete in every corner of the country".

So why did T-Mobile walk away with the most 600MHz spectrum? The agency said that 30 stations will receive money for moving to a lower channel, and 133 others will relinquish their licenses, with many intending to remain on the air under channel sharing agreements with other stations.

US Cellular won 188 licenses in 92 areas for $328.7 million.

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Comcast participated in the auction as both a bidder and a seller.

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