Tuesday, July 11, 2006

JupiterResearch: First Wave of AWS Auction Bidders Emerge

Sharon Armbrust at JupiterResearch posts that "more than 2/3 of the 252 applications submitted to the FCC for participation in the AWS Auction #66 were turned back as incomplete by the FCC, which released its preliminary status report on July 7. Just 81 applications were accepted and 171 were rejected. The deficient applicants get one more chance to resubmit a complete application by July 18. But first they must make their upfront payments in advance of that, no later than July 17." Armbrust notes that of the companies currently with complete applications there are:

lots of small businesses, a whole slew of independent telcos and some big guns of course. Of the 81 accepted apps, 42 came from companies who qualify as DEs (designated entities) in the under $15K revenue category. Another 11 are DEs in the $15-40K revenue category. So 65% of the first wave of applicants will qualify for discounts off their winning bids. The remaining 28 of those qualified to bid so far will be full price retail buyers.

We counted at least 35 independent telcos and co-ops in the accepted group, many of them rural telcos which qualify for DE status and will definitely have a limited regional scope to their bidding.
She also points out that:
The big wallet players include incumbents like Verizon and T-Mobile but also the cross-platform media and financial players. The FCC accepted a filing from Hawaiian Telcom Comm., which was bought by private equity firm Carlyle Group last year. HTC could simply be aiming for more spectrum for its home base in Hawaii, or it could be a platform for wider geographic bidding by Carlyle. The media heavyweight Dolan Family (Cablevision Systems) had its application accepted. Dolans have been in and out of wireless repeatedly and Cablevision, like other cable MSOs, is in the hunt for the 4th leg of its quadruple play--wireless. SKT (SK Telecom) the giant Korean telecom company, teamed up with Earthlink in the U.S. as an MVNO, has qualified to bid as well.

On the still-to-come list of deficient applicants are plenty of other well known names like Cingular, Cricket, Washington Post's Cable One and Cincinnati Bell, as well as a number of dba's which could be major bidders incognito, plus another wave of independent telcos and start-up DEs.