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Supreme Court to Decide Nextwave Airwaves Dispute
Posted: 05-Mar-2002 [Source: Reuters via Yahoo]

[The Supreme Court has chosen to decide whether the government can repossess wireless licenses from bankrupt NextWave Telecom Inc. A decision is expected early next year.]

by Jeremy Pelofsky, Washington -- "The Supreme Court said on Monday it would step into a four-year legal battle and decide whether the government can repossess valuable wireless licenses from bankrupt NextWave Telecom Inc. , a move that could push the two sides back into settlement talks.

"The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) tried to take back the licenses after NextWave entered bankruptcy protection, as well as resell them to other carriers like Verizon Wireless and partners of AT&T Wireless Services Inc. and Cingular Wireless .

"But a federal appeals court ruled last June the government violated bankruptcy law when it repossessed the licenses because of nonpayment and ordered the airwaves back to the company.

"The high court's action could shake up the wireless industry. If the justices rule that the FCC can repossess the licenses, Verizon Wireless and others will be on the hook for $15.85 billion, which they agreed to pay for the licenses back in 2001.

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