Verizon Wireless captures 700 MHz glory in near-sweep of C-block

As it turned out, those smiles were on the Verizon Wireless executives' faces for a very good reason: It has won easily the most valuable wireless spectrum ever auctioned in US history, by virtue of high bids placed 230 rounds ago.

Verizon Wireless may not have ever been seriously challenged for rights to use the most valuable C-block of wireless spectrum -- currently hovering around Channel 63 of the VHF TV dial -- for future wireless operations. Throughout the lower 48 states, it placed winning bids for the nation's major regions as early as round 18, in an auction that lasted through round 261.

In all, the total of VZW's provisionally winning bids is a colossal $9.363 billion, for 109 separate wins. Not all of these were in the C-block; they also include well-placed regional wins in the A and B-blocks as well.

Qualcomm, it was revealed today, was the sole bidder for the D-block -- the part of the spectrum whose bidding rules mandated the winner work with a coalition to make it available to first responders. But Qualcomm was not the winner here, since its bid of just over $472 million was below the FCC's reserve asking price. In a statement this afternoon, the Commission said it will reconsider its options with regard to how to sell the D-block, but it remains committed -- somehow -- to the idea of working with a first responders' coalition.

"The 700 MHz Public Safety/Private Partnership was designed to achieve the important public policy goal of helping to solve public safety's interoperability problems and allow police, fire and other first responders to better communicate with one another in times of emergency," reads a Commission statement this afternoon. "The FCC remains committed to this goal."

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