700MHz spectrum winners detail plans

By , IDG News Service |  Mobile & Wireless

Verizon
Wireless
, AT&T
and Qualcomm -- three
of the biggest winners in the U.S. Federal Communications Commission's recently
completed 700MHz auction
-- have announced plans for the spectrum they've
won, with two of the companies focused on expanding their wireless voice and
data networks.

Verizon and AT&T will both use the spectrum for high-speed fourth-generation
wireless services.

Qualcomm won eight spectrum licenses in the 6MHz E block, including spectrum
covering the Boston, Los Angeles, New York City and Philadelphia areas. The
company will use that spectrum, which cost US$554.6 million, to expand its FLO
TV service, which offers video over mobile devices. Qualcomm now offers FLO
TV to areas containing 68 million people, and the new spectrum will allow the
service to reach 130 million people in the U.S., Qualcomm said.

The E block licenses will allow Qualcomm to deliver more video content over
FLO TV, Qualcomm said. Qualcomm also won three 12MHz B block licenses, at a
cost of $3.5 million, near three Qualcomm research and development centers in
California and New Jersey.

The FCC auction of spectrum in the 700MHz band raised more than $19.1 billion
for the 1,090 spectrum licenses sold. The spectrum will be available to winning
bidders in February 2009, when U.S. television stations must abandon the spectrum
and move to all-digital broadcasts.

Verizon Wireless was the winning bidder for a nearly nationwide block of spectrum,
the 22MHz C block, plus 102 licenses for individual markets around the country.
Verizon did not win the Alaska portion of the C block. Verizon will pay nearly
$9.4 billion for the licenses, it said in a press release.

Verizon will use the spectrum to deploy a wireless data network using the Long
Term Evolution (LTE) standard, it said. The company announced plans for an LTE-based
network last November, and it plans to launch an LTE network in the 700MHz band
in 2010.

The 22MHz C block "provides a speed and performance advantage that will
be ideal for connecting a variety of consumer electronics, from wireless phones
to medical devices to gaming consoles," Verizon said.

"We now have sufficient spectrum to continue growing our business and
data revenues well into -- and possibly through -- the next decade, and this
is the very best spectrum," Lowell McAdam, Verizon Wireless’ president
and CEO, said in a statement. "This is a wise investment in future data
growth opportunities."

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