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Verizon, Dish, Charter, Comcast: Here are the 20 biggest CBRS auction winners

Verizon, Dish, Comcast, Charter and Cox are among more than 200 bidding entities that won spectrum during the FCC's recently concluded 3.5GHz CBRS spectrum auction.

Mike Dano

September 2, 2020

5 Min Read
Verizon, Dish, Charter, Comcast: Here are the 20 biggest CBRS auction winners

As expected, Verizon spent the most money in the FCC's recently concluded 3.5GHz midband spectrum auction.

The action is no surprise: Light Reading reported more than a year ago that Verizon has been deploying antennas into its network that can support transmissions in the 3.5GHz CBRS band to add additional capacity to its 4G and 5G networks.

Other big winners in the auction include Dish Network, Comcast, Charter Communications and Cox. These results also don't come as a surprise: Light Reading reported almost a year ago that Charter was preparing to build a wireless network, as well as interest from Dish and Comcast in spectrum. Light Reading also reported earlier this year that Cox is preparing to re-enter the mobile industry.

The cable companies are widely expected to build wireless networks in their cable footprints using CBRS spectrum to move their mobile customers' traffic onto their own wireless networks, thus reducing the amount of money they pay to their MVNO partners like Verizon.

Due to FCC rules, auction winners cannot yet discuss their plans for the spectrum.

Meantime, Dish is moving forward with its plan to build a nationwide 5G network.

Other major bidders in the FCC's CBRS spectrum auction include smaller cable companies like Cable One, Shentel and Mediacom, as well as telecom operators like Windstream and VTX1 Companies. Several smaller fixed and mobile wireless network operators including Viaero, Nextlink Internet, Watch Communications and U.S. Cellular also purchased spectrum. These companies likely will use CBRS spectrum to offer mobile services or to improve their existing mobile networks, or to offer fixed wireless Internet services.

A number of unexpected bidders emerged among the more than 200 spectrum winners in the auction. For example, several utility providers, including Sempra Energy, Southern California Edison and Alabama Power purchased spectrum; such companies have expressed interest in spectrum for private wireless networks for utility-monitoring services. And JBG SMITH is a major real estate company that could use CBRS spectrum for indoor wireless offerings.

Company

Bidding Entity

Number of Licenses Won

Net Payment

1

Verizon

Verizon Wireless Network Procurement

557

$1,893,791,991

2

Dish Network

Wetterhorn Wireless

5,492

$912,939,410

3

Charter

Spectrum Wireless Holdings

210

$464,251,209

4

Comcast

XF Wireless Investment

830

$458,725,900

5

Cox

Cox Communications

470

$212,805,412

6

Southern California Edison

Southern California Edison Company

20

$118,951,433

7

Windstream

Windstream Services

1,014

$38,534,863

8

Mediacom

Mediacom

576

$29,478,887

9

Nextlink Internet

AMG Technology Investment Group

1,072

$28,489,750

10

JBG SMITH

SEAD

7

$25,274,477

11

Sempra Energy

San Diego Gas and Electric Company

3

$21,273,340

12

ATN International

SAL Spectrum

1,569

$20,396,530

13

Claro Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Telephone Company

231

$18,887,528

14

Alabama Power

Alabama Power Company

271

$18,878,280

15

Shentel

Shenandoah Cable Television

262

$16,118,381

16

VTX1 Companies

VTX Communications

112

$15,373,263

17

Viaero

NE Colorado Cellular

558

$15,087,268

18

U.S. Cellular

United States Cellular Corporation

243

$13,538,232

19

Watch Communications

W.A.T.C.H. TV Company

517

$10,942,047

20

Cable One

Cable One

547

$10,544,441

Source: The FCC

— Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

About the Author(s)

Mike Dano

Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading

Mike Dano is Light Reading's Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies. Mike can be reached at [email protected], @mikeddano or on LinkedIn.

Based in Denver, Mike has covered the wireless industry as a journalist for almost two decades, first at RCR Wireless News and then at FierceWireless and recalls once writing a story about the transition from black and white to color screens on cell phones.

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