The excitement of the US Federal Communications Commission’s first auction of the airwaves – there is a much bigger one in December – is over, with most observers stunned at the size of some of the winning bids. A total bid of $617m was raised from the auction, and winners have been rushing out releases […]
The excitement of the US Federal Communications Commission’s first auction of the airwaves – there is a much bigger one in December – is over, with most observers stunned at the size of some of the winning bids. A total bid of $617m was raised from the auction, and winners have been rushing out releases outlining their plans. The freqencies on offer this time were mostly narrow bands appopriate for enhanced paging applications – most of the Personal Communications Services ones come in December – and Paging Network Inc of Plano, Texas, which bid $80m each for two 50KHz paired licences and $37m for a 50KHz unpaired licence, will use them for two-way paging, messaging and perhaps voice mail services. It has already chosen the name VoiceNow, and says the service will turn a pager-like receiver into a portable answering machine. The company expects to begin testing the service late next year, and is also exploring transmitting images. McCaw Cellular Communications Inc was the high bidder for two licences at $80m each but is keeping its cards close to its chest, although its paging division told Reuter it was prepared to spend north of $200m to provide the services it plans, adding There is a huge appetite for message services out there and we want to take advantage of it.Mobile Telecommunications Technologies Corp, Jackson, Mississippi, bid $80m and $47.5m for two licences it won: it already has a pioneer’s preference licence which it may now have to pay for the Feds decided they may have been too hasty in granting such licences – and will use the freqencies for its Destineer US-wide two-way wireless network for sending and receive two-way wireless messages using hand-held personal communicators, laptops, palmtops, personal organisers and anything else that can take a PCMCIA card for wireless messaging. AirTouch Communications Inc’s AirTouch Paging won a licence after bidding $47m, and BellSouth Corp’s BellSouth Wireless received a licence for $47.5m and is exploring verification services, electronic mail and locator services, wireless telemetry and wireless messaging services for strategic alliances. Pagemart Inc bid $38m to win one licence, but details of its proposals were not offered. A 20% down payment for each licence is required within five business days after notification of a successful bid. The remainder of the money is due when the Commission actually grants the licence.