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AT&T Unhappy About Dish's AWS-3 Bidding Tactics

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Feb 20, 2015, 2:03 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T today accused rival Dish Networks of creating artificial demand for spectrum and raising prices in the recently concluded auction for AWS-3 spectrum. Dish itself did not bid in the auction and instead had three smaller companies participate on its behalf. "The Dish entities acting in concert triple and double bid licenses in the auction nearly 4,000 times," wrote Joan Marsh, AT&T's vice president of federal regulatory, in a blog post. "During one round of the auction, because of their triple bidding tactics, the Dish entities collectively had close to $30 billion in bids while their actual financial exposure was only one-third of that. None of this suggests independent decision making by either of the DE bidders, which ultimately won over $13.3 billion worth of licenses with a $3.3 billion 'small business' discount. This conduct circumvented auction activity rules, masked actual demand and distorted the auction. As a result, Dish the corporate entity won NO licenses. The Dish DEs, who each enjoyed a 25% discount, won substantial allocations." Earlier this month, FCC commissioner Ajit Pai made similar complaints and said Dish's tactics made a "mockery" of the auction. Pai and AT&T called on the FCC to review Dish's practices. Dish, however, said it complied with the rules and disclosed its bidding plans before the auction took place. AT&T spent $18 billion in the auction, while rival Verizon Wireless spent $10 billion. AT&T is also unhappy Dish holds spectrum that it isn't using to provide wireless services. The auction generated more than $41 billion in wining bids, nearly four times the $10.56 billion reserve set by the FCC.


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Feb 20, 2015, 2:52 PM

use it or lose it?

How were they even allowed to bid? They already had a bunch of spectrum that they were supposed to use, hadn't done squat with it, and got waivers so that they could delay. So instead of investing money so that they can use the spectrum they have, they spend money buying more. Now they have even less funds available to do something with it.
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