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US spectrum auction underway

Satellite television companies had the wireless operators on their toes Wednesday during the first rounds of bidding for advanced wireless services spectrum in the US.

According to reports, a consortium of satellite operators, EchoStar Communications and DirecTV topped the bidding with a $282.5m (£148m) offer for 13 licenses. With the playing field blown wide open through the emergence of triple and even quadruple play service offerings, many traditional fixed line, cable and satellite players are looking to get in on the wireless space.

T-Mobile USA, which needs the advance wireless spectrum to deploy 3G services, is also betting big on the auction. T-Mobile bid $121.7m for 23 licenses yesterday.

Bidding will reopen on Thursday and continue until there is no further activity.

US communications regulator the FCC is planning to auction off 1,122 wireless licenses in a move that could bring in as much as $15bn.

The licenses to be auctioned are presently being used by the military but would be ideal for the launch of 3G services. Spectrum within the bands 1.7-1.75GHz and 2.1-to 2.15GHz will be available.

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