Rights to the airwaves might fetch $48bn
Mobile telephone companies in the US including Verizon Wireless and AT&T may acquire airwaves used by television broadcasters.
This plan is backed by federal officials, reports Bloomberg.
A 2009 study by a Washington research firm the Brattle Group had found that rights to the airwaves might fetch $48bn. It also said that wireless operators would receive about the same amount in annual revenue from selling new services.
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski said without action, consumers face poor service and high prices as wireless data flows are likely to increase 35-fold over the next five years.
The auctions are expected to help the Obama administration’s fulfill its promise to double the airwaves that support devices like Apple’s IPhone and iPad, and Google Android OS using smartphones.
For sharing the proceeds, Genachowski has proposed the government conduct auctions in which broadcasters voluntarily surrender airwaves in return for part of the proceeds.
Some of the prospective buyers are Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint Nextel Corp. and Deutsche Telekom AG’s T-Mobile unit.
Companies owning broadcast stations include CBS Corp., News Corp., Walt Disney Co.’s ABC, Belo Corp. and Sinclair Broadcast Group.