WASHINGTON – The nation’s cell phone companies won big in a record-setting government airways auction, the Federal Communications Commission announced Thursday.
AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless, the nation’s two biggest cell phone carriers, bid a combined $16 billion of the record $19.6 billion pledged in the auction, according to an AP analysis of the results. Verizon Wireless bid $9.4 billion while AT&T Inc. bid $6.6 billion.
The results raised concern that the auction had failed to attract any new competitors to the cellular telephone market to challenge the dominant carriers.
Google Inc. was not among the winners, meaning the search engine giant will not be entering the wireless business.
One new entrant, however, Frontier Wireless LLC, which is owned by EchoStar Communications Inc., won nearly enough licenses to create a nationwide footprint.
The auction, overseen by the FCC, attracted a record $19.6 billion in bids. Bidders were anonymous, but the agency released the names Thursday. [AP]
So, in other words, the huge telecoms are still huge and getting bigger. Nothing new here.
Oh, except that the $19.6 billion is just about enough to pay for two entire months of operations in Iraq. Woo hoo!