Paul Allen Sells 700MHz, Needs Bigger Boat

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Paul Allen – billionaire – has sold his 700 MHZ licenses he acquired in 2003 to AT&T for an undisclosed price, reports Bloomberg.

The 24 wireless licenses cover spectrum in parts of Washington State and Oregon, including the cities of Seattle and Portland, according to documents filed with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (pdf).

The additional spectrum will facilitate AT&T’s continued deployment of GSM/EDGE and HSDPA/UMTS technologies and help AT&T efficiently deploy LTE technology, an ultra wideband next generation technology that will be deployed in the future.

Allen holds the licenses through his Seattle-based Vulcan Spectrum LLC. AT&T previously bought 700MHz from Aloha Partners for $2.5 billion.

Not a bad flip for Charlie Townsend’s Aloha Partners. Here’s the FCC’s full list of 700 MHz winners from the 2008 auction.

“What Vulcan really had here is a play in the Pacific Northwest and presumably AT&T has given him an offer he couldn’t refuse,” said Jim Wiesenberg, a principal at wireless spectrum consulting firm WW Associates.

The licenses cover the C-block segment of the airwaves within the lower 700 megahertz frequency. In 2002, the FCC made available the Lower 700 MHz Band that had been allocated to television Channels 52-59 and completed an initial auction of 740 licenses in the Lower 700 MHz band on September 18, 2002, with 102 bidders winning a total of 484 licenses.

On June 13, 2003, the FCC completed an additional auction of 256 licenses in the Lower 700 MHz band C and D blocks (auction 44). Block C had 12 MHz (2 x 6 MHz paired) while Block D had 6 MHz (unpaired), and later bought by Qualcomm for MediaFlo.

The FCC’s 700 MHz auction in 2008 raised $19.6 billion for the U.S. Treasury with AT&T Wireless and Verizon Wireless accounting for the bulk ($16 billion).

700 MHz Spectrum Winners (2008)
Source: Telephony
Bidder Total bids Spectrum acquired
#1 Verizon Wireless $9.36B C Block open access covering lower 48/key metro and economic areas
#2 AT&T $6.64B B Block metro licenses in large cities across the U.S.
#3 EchoStar/DISH Network $711M 168 E block (unpaired) licenses across the U.S.
#4 Qualcomm $588M E Block licenses in Boston, Los Angeles and New York City; placed sole bid on D Block public safety license (but didn’t win)
#5 MetroPCS $313M Single A Block license in Boston
#6 Cox Communications $304M 14 A block, 8 B block
#7 US Cellular $300M 25 A block, 127 B block
#8 Cellular South $191M 14 A block, 10 B block
#9 CenturyTel $150M A and B Block licenses in its LEC territory
#10 Vulcan Spectrum $112.8 $43.6 million for “A Block” in Portland, Salem and $69 million for Seattle, Tacoma, Bremerton

Vulcan Spectrum also bought licenses in the A-block portion of the spectrum as a participant in last year’s 700 MHz auction that raised almost $20 billion. Vulcan Spectrum’s A- block licenses, which also cover the Seattle and Portland areas, aren’t included in the proposed sale to AT&T, reports Bloomberg.

Related Dailywireless articles include; LTE Marketing Ramps Up, Verizon LTE: 30 US Markets by 2010, Verizon Updates 700MHz LTE Specs, AWS: It’s Done, 700MHz: It’s Done!, Rural Telcom: Big Time Consolidation, CTIA 2009: All About LTE, Cox Plans 700MHz Phone Service, FCC Finalizes Rules on 700MHz: Limited Open Access, No Wholesale Requirement, Frontline: Out of Business, AT&T Buys 700MHz from Aloha, The 700 Mhz Club, 700MHZ Goes Live, Channel 54: Where are You? and 700MHZ Goes Live.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Wednesday, September 16th, 2009 at 4:49 pm .

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