The 600MHz spectrum auction later this month is set to be a big one. And we’re seeing more and more companies looking to get in on the auction, than ever before. A big part of this is due to the fact that there are new rules in place for the auction which benefit companies that have little to no spectrum. Which is why we are seeing companies like Dish Network, Comcast and other cable companies jumping in. The FCC released a list of about 104 applicants for the spectrum auction, which is starting on March 29th. Currently there are 69 complete applications and 35 incomplete applications.
Many companies are bidding under a different name, which is usually one of their subsidies. For example, Comcast will be bidding in this year’s auction under the name CC Wireless Investment. Notable names include, Verizon, T-Mobile, US Cellular and C Spire Wireless have completed their applications. While AT&T and Bluegrass Wireless have not yet completed their applications, but they should before the deadline.
Now Sprint had stated they weren’t going to be bidding in this year’s auction, and they aren’t listed here. So it seems they indeed aren’t taking part in it. However, SoftBank said they might be taking part in it, but at this point they are not listed as an applicant. Dish Network is also missing from the list. A bit surprising considering Dish had been going to just about every spectrum auction and buying up some spectrum. In the AWS-3 auction last year, Dish bid with a designated entity Northstar Wireless and SNR Wireless, are bot missing. But, there is a ParkerB.com Wireless company listed which is registered to Dish’s Denver address. Which would indicate that Dish is in fact looking for more spectrum.
The auction starts on March 29th, and it’ll likely be a few weeks before we learn who won, and who got what in terms of spectrum licenses. T-Mobile is looking to pick up a big chunk of the 600MHz spectrum, as they want to pair it with their existing 700MHz spectrum they picked up from Verizon and a slew of other regional carriers. The 600MHz spectrum likely won’t be used by these carriers for months and maybe even a year. As these things take quite a bit of time.