More than half of the record-breaking $81 billion spent in the C-band auction is attributable to a single bidder – Verizon. The company had the most winning bids — for a total of 3,511 licenses — for which the company bid more than $45.4 billion.
There were 21 winning bidders in total in the auction of the vaunted mid-band spectrum in the 3.7 GHz band. Other big winners include AT&T, which will spend $23.4 billion for 1,621 licenses; T-Mobile, which will spend $9.3 billion for 142 licenses; and U.S. Cellular, which will spend $1.2 billion for 254 licenses.
A lesser known name on the big winning bidder list is New Level II, L.P., which according to Ari Meltzer, a partner with telecom law firm Wiley Rein, is a bidding entity for Grain Capital. That company is the fifth biggest spender in the auction after the four carriers.
Another unfamiliar name—Canopy Spectrum, a bidding entity for Monarch Wireless according to Meltzer, was the fifth biggest winner measured by number of licenses, winning 84 licenses.
One company that wasn’t a big winner in the auction was Dish. Bidding as Little Bear Wireless, the company will spend just $2.5 million for a single license.
Other C-band winning bids were from smaller more rural carriers, some of whom may use the spectrum for mobile use and some of whom may use it for fixed wireless service.
More than half of the 57 companies that qualified to bid in the C-band auction went home empty-handed, which isn’t surprising, considering that winners are paying top dollar for the spectrum.
Mid-band spectrum is widely viewed as offering the optimum mixture of speed and range for 5G wireless. Verizon is currently missing significant mid-band spectrum from its spectrum portfolio, which appears to have motivated them to be aggressive.
All 5,684 licenses offered in the auction had winning bids. A complete list of winners can be found at this link.