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FCC reaches settlement over NextWave wireless licences
Posted: 17-Nov-2001 [Source: FT]

[Congress still needs to pass legislation ratifying the settlement authorizing payments to NextWave.]

by Stephanie Kirchgaessner and Tally Goldstein, New York -- "Federal Communications Commission on Friday said it reached an agreement in the long-running legal battle over valuable spectrum licences.

"The settlement puts an end to the legal wranglings, and more recently the backroom jockeying, between NextWave, a bankrupt telecoms company, the government, and the largest US wireless companies over who would stake primarily claim over the most lucrative spectrum sale in US history.

"The deal is still at risk of falling apart, however, if Congress does not pass legislation by the end of the year that ratifies the settlement, authorizes the government to make payments to NextWave, and permits the other wireless companies to defer payment until June 2002.

"The ordeal began when NextWave bought its licences in 1996 for $4.7bn, but filed for bankruptcy before paying for them. The government confiscated the licences and reauctioned them in January for $15.8bn to Verizon Wireless and to partners of AT&T Wireless and Cingular Wirless.

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