AT&T, T-Mobile Are Top Spenders in Airwaves Auction

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AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile were the biggest spenders on a pair of Federal Communications Commission auctions designed to spark investment in next-wave 5G networks. The auctions covered two swaths of wireless spectrum -- the 24 gigahertz (GHz) and 28 GHz millimeter wave bands -- frequencies once considered too extreme for cellphone service. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has made those frequencies a cornerstone of his strategy to spur 5G investments. Bidding across both auctions totaled less than $3 billion, compared with nearly $20 billion raised in a previous FCC auction that freed up frequencies used by local television broadcasters for cellphone use.

Verizon led spending on the first auction around 28 GHz after it bid $505 million. The leading cellphone carrier by subscribers was expected to focus on that auction to fill in gaps in the more than $3 billion worth of licenses it had already bought through private purchases. AT&T spent the most on 24 GHz licenses, bidding $983 million. It was followed by T-Mobile, which bid $803 million in the auction. Midwestern carrier US Cellular Inc. also earmarked cash for licenses in its service area and won $129 million and $127 million worth of spectrum in the 28 GHz and 24 GHz auctions, respectively.

AT&T, T-Mobile Are Top Spenders in Airwaves Auction AT&T, T-Mobile lead bids in 24 GHz auction (Fierce) 5G Millimeter Wave Auction Winners: AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Windstream, Starry, and Others (telecompetitor)