Verizon, AT&T, Charter, Cox, Dish among C-band bidders

The FCC Monday released a list of entities that have registered interest in participating in the agency's upcoming C-band spectrum auction – an event that some analysts believe could be the biggest auction of spectrum ever.

The financial analysts at New Street Research expect the C-band auction to raise a total of $51 billion in bids. After all, the auction seeks to release valuable midband spectrum for 5G, a once-in-a-lifetime event that would free up spectrum that can support both broad coverage areas and blazing fast speeds. Verizon is expected to walk away with the bulk of the C-band licenses.

Based on an initial check of the entities registering interest with the FCC for the C-band auction, dubbed Auction 107, it appears that most of the market's major players plan to show up. Noteworthy names include Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Charter Communications, Cox Communications, Altice USA, Columbia Capital, Dish Network, Viasat and U.S. Cellular, among others.

As in past auctions, bidders are only identified by their "bidding entity." In some cases, the identity of that bidding entity is pretty clear: For example, AT&T is bidding under the name "AT&T Spectrum Frontiers LLC." But in other cases the identity of the bidder is unclear: For example, Dish appears to be bidding under the name "Little Bear Wireless."

Table 1: C-band bidding entities

Bidding entity Company Application status
CSC Wireless, LLC Altice USA Incomplete
AT&T Spectrum Frontiers LLC AT&T
Cellco Partnership Verizon
Cellular South Licenses, LLC C Spire Incomplete
C&C Wireless Holding Company, LLC Charter Incomplete
0029998416 MB License Co LLC Columbia Capital Incomplete
Cox Communications , Inc Cox
FiberLight LLC. FiberLight
Little Bear Wireless L.L.C Dish Network Incomplete
Radius Broadband Holdings, LLC Radius Capital Partners Incomplete
SAL Spectrum ATN International
T-Mobile License LLC T-Mobile
United States Cellular Corporation U.S. Cellular
Viasat, Inc Viasat

A number of companies contacted by Light Reading, including Dish and Comcast, did not immediately respond to questions about the C-band. However, one financial analyst with Evercore said that the "C&C Wireless" bidding entity is a 50/50 joint venture between Comcast and Charter.

As in previous auctions, the FCC released two lists of potential auction participants. One list comprised entities that correctly filled out their auction application and another list that contained entities that did not correctly fill out their bidding application. However, entities can correct their filings, so the fact that some companies aren't listed among the entities that filed incomplete applications isn't important.

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

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