Ground-breaking Wireless Spectrum Auction Kicks Off

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Wireless carriers and others are now allowed to buy licenses to the wavelengths that TV stations use to broadcast their programs.

This is the first auction of its kind in the world and the second phase. Major players such as Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, T-Mobile, and Dish have started bidding on Tuesday.

They are bidding for the best wireless spectrum left in the government’s portfolio.

The Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler has compared the licenses up for grabs to “beachfront” property because of the spectrum’s ability to efficiently cover large areas.

The first part of the auction last month began when the FCC asked station owners how much they would take to sell. The government made a series of descending bids that started with high offers and reduced the payment until it reached the lowest amount that enough TV station owners in each market would sell.

The broadcasters ended up at total of $86 billion in June, but if wireless carriers and other spectrum suitors wont pay that much, the FCC will go back to broadcasters for a second round of bidding.

Disclaimer: We have no position in AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: V), T-Mobile US (NASDAQ: TMUS), Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA), DISH Network Corp (NASDAQ: DISH) and have not been compensated for this article.