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U.K. wireless spectrum bids top US$20B
Posted: 06-Apr-2000 [Source: Computerworld]

["The price of wide-band telecommunications spectrum in the U.K. that's needed to deliver a wide range of advanced wireless applications is seen as a benchmark to similar auctions scheduled to take place in the U.S. this summer." ]

By Bob Brewin and Douglas F. Gray, London -- "The price of wide-band telecommunications spectrum in the U.K. that's needed to deliver a wide range of advanced wireless applications topped US$20 billion yesterday in the fourth week of a fiercely contested auction, raising affordability concerns among analysts and potential corporate users.

"The rich bids the U.K. spectrum auction has attracted also serves as a benchmark for the next-generation spectrum auction scheduled to take place in the U.S. this summer, with final bids expected to be much higher due to the swelling population of wireless users. The staggering prices for a commodity that governments once gave away for free also serves as a strong argument for the creation of national mega-carriers in the U.S. with the deep corporate resources required to fit the bill, analysts said.

"MCI WorldCom Inc. led the bidding yesterday in the U.K., offering US$4.3 billion for the largest amount of spectrum on the block, with Vodafone Air Touch PLC offering US$4.8 billion for a slightly smaller block of spectrum. This wireless version of high-stakes poker has already caused five companies to drop out of the bidding war, with eight companies -- all European or global communications powerhouses -- still hanging in.

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