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The full list: Here are the actual bidders in the C-band auctionThe full list: Here are the actual bidders in the C-band auction

There are a total of 74 entities that have registered their interest to bid in the FCC's upcoming C-band auction. Here's the list.

Mike Dano

October 21, 2020

8 Min Read
The full list: Here are the actual bidders in the C-band auction

The FCC released a list of entities that have registered their interest in its upcoming C-band spectrum auction.

However, as in past auctions, bidders are only identified by their "bidding entity," making it difficult for mere mortals to determine the company actually doing the bidding.

The big list

Brian Goemmer, the founder of spectrum-tracking company AllNet Insights & Analytics, has helped bring some clarity to the proceedings. He provided a complete look at all 74 entities bidding in the FCC's upcoming C-band auction, dubbed Auction 107. The below information is derived from the ownership documents each bidding entity provided to the FCC as part of its C-band auction application.

Bidder

Application
status

Altice USA

Incomplete

AMA TechTel

Incomplete

AT&T

Complete

ATNI

Complete

BEK Communications

Incomplete

Bluegrass Cellular

Incomplete

C Spire

Incomplete

Cal.net

Incomplete

Carolina West

Complete

Central Texas Telephone

Complete

Charter and Comcast

Incomplete

Clear Vu

Complete

Columbia Capital

Incomplete

Cox

Complete

Cross Telephone

Complete

Daviess-Martin County RTC

Incomplete

Dish

Incomplete

East Kentucky Network

Complete

Etheric Networks

Incomplete

Evolve Cellular Inc

Incomplete

Fond du Lac Communcations

Incomplete

Frederick Milling

Complete

FTC Management

Complete

Geolinks

Incomplete

Globalstar

Incomplete

Grain Spectrum

Incomplete

Grand River Communications

Incomplete

Granite Wireless

Complete

Guadalupe Valley Electric

Complete

Hilliary Acquistion Corp

Complete

Horry Telephone

Complete

InfoWest

Complete

KerrComm

Incomplete

Leap Comm

Incomplete

LICT Wireless

Complete

Mark Twain

Complete

McBride Spectrum Partners

Complete

Monarch Wireless/Moise Advisory

Incomplete

Mountain West Technologies

Incomplete

Netmaker Communications

Incomplete

Nex-Tech Wireless

Complete

Northern Valley Communications

Incomplete

Nsight Spectrum

Complete

Pine Belt Cellular

Complete

Pine Cellular

Complete

Pioneer Telephone Cooperative

Complete

Poka Lambro Telecommunications

Complete

PVT Networks

Incomplete

Radius Broadband

Incomplete

Resound Networks

Complete

Skylake Wireless

Incomplete

Skywave Wireless

Complete

Smith Bagley

Incomplete

Sound Internet Services

Incomplete

Starwood Holdings

Complete

Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners

Incomplete

Strata Networks

Complete

Tarkus Enerprises

Incomplete

Texoma Communications

Incomplete

Thumb Cellular

Complete

T-Mobile

Incomplete

TriStar

Incomplete

Tzedakahs Row

Incomplete

Union Telephone Company

Complete

Universal Electrical Contractors

Complete

USCellular

Complete

Verizon

Complete

Viaero Wireless

Complete

Viasat

Complete

W Wu

Incomplete

WATCH TV

Complete

Whitewater Wireless

Complete

Wisper ISP

Incomplete

Source: AllNet Insights & Analytics, Light Reading

Cable giants buddy up

The bidding entity called "C&C Wireless Holding Company" appears to be a 50/50 joint venture between Comcast and Charter Communications, at least according to the financial analysts at Raymond James, New Street Research and Evercore. Neither company has directly confirmed this to Light Reading in response to our questions.

"We have been asked why Comcast and Charter are bidding together rather than individually; they didn't in CBRS," wrote the analysts at New Street in a note to investors this week. "The most likely answer: the license sizes for C-Band are much larger than CBRS; they don't overlap perfectly with cable franchises. By bidding together, the companies can avoid bidding against each other for licenses that touch both of their footprints. It also isn't surprising given that they have a JV to develop wireless together."

"Cable operators have had success in the past bidding as a combined entity," added the analysts at Evercore, in a report to clients. "Comcast, Cox, and Time Warner Cable bid together under the SpectrumCo banner in the AWS auction in 2006, purchasing an attractive spectrum portfolio at very reasonable prices, and eventually selling that spectrum to Verizon in 2011, obtaining a >50% return and an MVNO deal with Verizon in the process. Given that cable MSOs [multiple-system operators] generally don't have geographically overlapping territories, there's a logic to bidding together, as the individual providers aren't likely to compete with each other for geographically-based spectrum licenses."

Figure 1: 'Wireless tower and Library back' by /\ \/\/ /\ is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

"Wireless tower and Library back" by /\ \/\/ /\ is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

51 telecom bidders emerge

As for the full list of bidders, the analysts at Raymond James noted that the list breaks down into four main categories: telecom (51 entities), cable (Comcast, Charter, Altice and Cox), satellite (Viasat, Globalstar and Xplornet), and 16 others, including Columbia Capital and Radius Capital Partners.

"And we note the continued absence of any Big Tech players attempting to acquire direct spectrum ownership," the analysts wrote.

It's also worth noting that the C-band auction continues to generate controversy. For example, Advanced Television reported that two of the companies relinquishing C-band spectrum for the auction – SES and Intelsat – remain wrapped in a dispute over their participation in the now-defunct C-Band Alliance. SES claims that Intelsat owes it $1.8 billion over the issue, but Intelsat disagrees. However, the dispute likely won't affect the ultimate outcome of the FCC's C-band auction.

Also, no one knows exactly how the C-band auction will turn out. Some analysts expect the event to become the FCC's biggest auction ever. The analysts at New Street believe bidders will dole out a total of $51 billion in bids, about $21 billion more than what is predicted by the analysts at Raymond James. And FierceWireless reported that the analysts at Morgan Stanley Research last month raised their C-band expectations to around $26 billion, with their high-end estimates at $35.2 billion.

Related posts:

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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