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U.S. FCC tries to accelerate end to wireless auction
Posted: 19-Jan-2001 [Source: Reuters]

[Auction beginning to show signs of nearing the end with Verizon still top bidder.]

by Jeremy Pelofsky -- "The Federal Communications Commission tried to accelerate the pace of the record auction of valuable wireless licenses as bidding slowed and it appeared the sale would wind up soon, possibly by the end of next week.

"The agency began holding six rounds of bidding on Wednesday and received 31 new bids in the 67th round on Thursday with bids reaching $16.66 billion and Verizon Wireless accounting for more than half of that, according to the FCC.

"We believe the end is near," Michael Rollins, an analyst at Salomon Smith Barney, wrote in a research note released on Thursday. "New York remains the hot spot. Verizon again was the high bidder in the Big Apple."

"The auction will stop when no more bids are received for any of the 422 licenses that wireless companies are competing to fill gaps in their coverage areas, improve service in congested markets and launch new services and products.

"Verizon Wireless, the nation's biggest mobile telephone company, has the top bids for 113 licenses including two of the licenses covering New York where the joint venture between Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ - news) and Vodafone Group Plc (quote from Yahoo! UK & Ireland: VOD.L)(NYSE:VOD - news) has bid more than $2 billion for each.

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