The 700 MHz Band Auction, Part IIIb: More Mid-Range Competitors

Once again let’s begin our analysis of strategic options for major actors in Auction 73, 700 MHz Band, with a look at the footprints established by many of those actors in two previous Lower 700 MHz auctions (Auction 44 and 49) and the AWS-1 auction (Auction 66):
Cellular Market Areas (CMA) Map for Auction 44
Economic Area Groupings (EAG) Map for Auction 44
Cellular Market Areas (CMA) Map for Auction 49
Economic Area Groupings (EAG) Map for Auction 49
Cellular Market Areas (CMA) Map for Auction 66
Economic Areas (EA) Map for Auction 66
Regional Economic Area Groupings (REAG) Map for Auction 66

The Mid-Range Competitors (Continued)

Cablevision is bidding as CSC Spectrum Holdings LLC. In Auction 66 it bid as Dolan Family Holdings and got creamed by incumbent blocking bidding. Cablevision unsuccessfully bid on two EAs, AW-BEA010-B (NYC-Long Is. NY-NJ-CT-PA-MA-VT) and AW-BEA010-C (NYC-Long Is. NY-NJ-CT-PA-MA-VT), and the following CMAs: AW-CMA001-A (New York-Newark, NY-NJ), AW-CMA042-A (Bridgeport-Stamford-Danbury CT), AW-CMA062-A (New Brunswick-Perth Amboy NJ), AW-CMA070-A (Long Branch-Asbury Park NJ), AW-CMA144-A (Orange County NY), AW-CMA151-A (Poughkeepsie NY), AW-CMA551-A (Ocean NJ), and AW-CMA552-A (Sussex NJ). Cablevision unsuccessfully sought all three licenses for the Northest REAG: AW-REA001-D, AW-REA001-E, and AW-REA001-F. The pattern is straightforward: replicate the footprint of their cable service in the NY-CT-NJ region in the A and B Blocks and try for one of the Northeast REAGs. Cablevision didn’t get it in AWS-1 and it has to do well in Auction 73 or its triple play options are seriously curtailed. Anonymous bidding helps Cablevision only a bit, because the chief competitors know exactly where they have to bid and it is prime spectrum in the richest market in America.

More below…

Echostar is bidding as Frontier Wireless LLC. It was part of the Wireless DBS consortium which was successfully blocked from gaining any spectrum by the incumbents’ blocking coalition in Auction 66. While Echostar doesn’t bring the financial weight to the table that it did with Direct TV in Wireless DBS, it probably still aspires to acquire national footprint. It unsuccessfully bid on the D, E, and F blocks of REAGs 001-008 in Auction 66, and tried for New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia and DC in the EAs and CMAs when it was completely blocked from the REAGs. Echbostar desperately needs the national footprint, but I don’t see it having the financial resources to stick it out for the long haul on C Block or the technical experise and resources to deliver a commercial-public safety network under the build-out constraints in D Block. Look for Echostar to try to pick up major markets in A and B Block, and possibly E, but it is a very long shot for the C Block REAGs and not a D Block contender.

Lynch Wireless Broadband Company bid as Lynch AWS in Auction 66, unsuccessfully competing for a number of EAs — AW-BEA058-C (Northern Michigan MI), AW-BEA059-C (Green Bay WI-MI), AW-BEA102-C (Davenport-Moline IA-IL), AW-BEA153-C (Las Vegas NV-AZ-UT), AW-BEA165-C (Redding CA-OR), and two CMAs, AW-CMA440-A (Edwards KS) and AW-CMA675-A (Juab UT). Coupled with their successes in Auction 44, it presents the picture of a widely dispersed company trying to expand footprint in areas where they already have coverage and areas for which they tried in AWS-1. They may bid on the Great Lakes REAG in C Block, but expect them to concentrate on A and B Block with relatively narrow aspirations.

Triad 700 is the bidding entity of the same cellular telco which bid as Triad AWS in Auction 66. It concentrated mainly on EAs and CMAs with a smattering of bids on the Pacific and Caribbean REAGs: AW-BEA013-B (Wash.-Balt. DC-MD-VA-WV-PA), AW-BEA013-C (Wash.-Balt. DC-MD-VA-WV-PA), AW-BEA051-B (Columbus OH), AW-BEA051-C (Columbus OH), AW-BEA055-C (Cleveland-Akron OH-PA), AW-BEA064-B (Chicago-Gary-Kenosha IL-IN-WI), AW-BEA067-B (Indianapolis IN-IL), AW-BEA067-C (Indianapolis IN-IL), AW-BEA083-B (New Orleans LA-MS), AW-BEA083-C (New Orleans LA-MS), AW-BEA088-C (Shreveport-Bossier City LA-AR), AW-BEA096-B (St. Louis MO-IL), AW-BEA096-C (St. Louis MO-IL), AW-BEA107-B (Minneapolis-St. Paul MN-WI-IA), AW-BEA107-C (Minneapolis-St. Paul MN-WI-IA), AW-BEA153-B (Las Vegas NV-AZ-UT), AW-BEA160-B (LA-Riverside-Orange Cnty CA-AZ), AW-BEA170-B (Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton WA), AW-BEA172-C (Honolulu HI), AW-CMA011-A (St. Louis, MO-IL), AW-CMA015-A (Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN-WI), AW-CMA028-A (Indianapolis, IN), AW-CMA029-A (New Orleans, LA), AW-CMA031-A (Columbus, OH), AW-CMA066-A (Youngstown-Warren, OH), AW-CMA080-A (Baton Rouge, LA), AW-CMA093-A (Las Vegas, NV), AW-CMA100-A (Shreveport, LA), AW-CMA206-A (Longview-Marshall, TX), AW-CMA237-A (Tyler, TX), AW-CMA238-A (Sharon, PA), AW-CMA587-A (Ashtabula OH), AW-CMA590-A (Morrow OH), AW-CMA662-A (Cherokee TX), AW-REA001-D (Northeast), AW-REA008-D (Hawaii), AW-REA008-E (Hawaii), AW-REA010-D (Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands), and AW-REA010-E (Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands). It was essentially a regional actor who made an unsuccessful play to cobble together a national footprint. Unless they’ve found much better funding this time around I don’t see Triad achieving national footprint in Auction 73, although they will probably continue to press for the same EAs, CMAs, and REAGs as in the AWS-1 auction and anonymous bidding may help them get luckier than they were in earlier auctions.

Coming… Part IIIc, The Big Guys and the Wild Cards

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