Lessons From The 700 MHz Auction? More Of The Same

from the no-surprises-here dept

So the winners of the 700 MHz spectrum auction have been announced and to say that there were no surprises would be an understatement. It played out almost exactly as most observers predicted it would. Verizon Wireless ended up with the C-block (with Google only bidding right up to the cut-off amount to force Verizon to play by “open” rules) and AT&T added some spectrum as well, which it can add to the 700 MHz spectrum it picked up separately last year. The end result? Nothing too exciting for consumers. Whether or not Verizon Wireless’s required “openness” makes a difference remains to be seen. What didn’t happen was someone new entering the scene — meaning that we’re not going to see anything really new come out of all this spectrum.

In fact, perhaps the most bizarre bid of all was EchoStar spending $700 million on spectrum that can only be used for one-way communication. One-way communication is less and less useful these days. EchoStar has been making some interesting moves of late, but using this spectrum to build a mobile TV broadcast solution (which is what many expect) makes little sense. It will cost the company billions, and then they’ll be limited to a one-way communication system just as people are recognizing that the real value is in multi-directional communications. It may give the company another option rather than relying on satellites (which are costly and troublesome at times), but the expense is way too high considering the limitations. So, even with EchoStar, we’re talking about “more of the same.” That’s too bad, as there was a quiet hope that someone different would step in and do something really new and interesting with this valuable spectrum.

Filed Under: , , ,
Companies: at&t, echostar, verizon wireless

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Lessons From The 700 MHz Auction? More Of The Same”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
mjr1007 says:

Anyone else notice.

The auction is just a giant tax on consumers. It’s about the only thing that makes land lines competitive.

Dedicating parts of the spectrum might have made sense years ago because of interference but it no longer does.

Why not just let any and all companies use the spectrum and compete on price. Oh yea, the the bureaucrats and politicians wouldn’t have anything to do or anyone to finance their campaigns.

This is just a giant waste of time and money while being incredibly anticompetitive.

MaxB312 says:

What about the D Block

What about the D block? As I understand it Congress just wanted to give first responders the spectrum. But instead our dear Chairman Martin decided to double the amount of spectrum for a public safety network and then sell it back to them. That worked out well. Did the Chairman not understand that the incredible build out requirements for a public safety network would probably not make it the most business-friendly? I guess not, or, maybe, he just didn’t care. Either way, we’re out a public safety network and Martin still gets to call the auction a success. I feel used.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...