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Satellite Companies Fall Back in Airwave Auction

Aug 17, 2006  •  Post A Comment

The dominant U.S. satellite television services fell back in the auction for airwaves being conducted by the Federal Communications Commission, leaving wireless phone providers as leading contenders to buy the spectrum licenses.

EchoStar Communications, the No. 2 satellite TV company, withdrew from the auction, disrupting a joint venture it had formed with larger rival DirecTV Group. EchoStar’s withdrawal counters some expectations that the satellite companies would buy the spectrum to expand their businesses into phone and wireless Internet services.

So far, the bidding in the spectrum auction is being led by wireless phone companies including T-Mobile.

Wireless DBS had put up $972,546,000, the biggest upfront payment of any potential bidder, to allow it to participate in the FCC auctions.