Verizon Wireless said that the spectrum it gained in the FCC's recent 700 MHz auction is a critical piece of its overall broadband strategy to take advantage of the enormous opportunity for growth in data services in the future. The spectrum will allow the company to capture the full potential of its announced plan to deploy a Long Term Evolution (LTE) network and Open Development Initiative and the resulting next wave of wireless innovation. The company's comments were made in a conference call with the investment community Friday morning.
Verizon Wireless was the winning bidder for a nationwide spectrum footprint (excluding Alaska) in the FCC-termed C-Block group of licenses, plus 102 licenses for individual markets around the country.
In all, the company will pay $9.36 billion for these licenses, which equates to $1.03 per MHz Pop, compared with the auction average of $1.20.
The FCC announced the end of the auction on March 20, but the company was limited in commenting until the Commission's anti-collusion quiet period rules ended late in the day on April 3.
The new spectrum, which will not be completely cleared for use until mid-February 2009, will increase the company's average spectrum depth per market to 82 MHz, from 52 MHz today.
Verizon Wireless plans to launch its LTE network in the 700 MHz spectrum in the 2010 timeframe. The company said the breadth of the national C-block spectrum footprint, all in a single band and with a depth of 22 MHz, provides a speed and performance advantage that will be ideal for connecting a variety of consumer electronics, from wireless phones to medical devices to gaming consoles. In addition, the 102 individual licenses in the A and B-blocks provide additional growth capacity in key markets.
"The spectrum we purchased in this auction, combined with our existing portfolio, provides new flexibility as we execute our high-growth business model," said Lowell McAdam, the company's president and CEO.
"We now have sufficient spectrum to continue growing our business and data revenues well into -- and possibly through -- the next decade, and this is the very best spectrum with excellent propagation and in-building characteristics. We also believe that the combination of the national, contiguous, same-frequency C-block footprint and our transition to LTE will make Verizon the preferred partner for developers of a new wave of consumer electronics and applications using this next generation technology.
"In all, this spectrum positions us well to preserve our current advantage and reputation as the nation's most reliable wireless network and the leader in data services. This is a wise investment in future data growth opportunities," he said.