Verizon Wireless is planning to conduct an open sale of all of its 700 MHz A and B spectrum licenses in an effort to rationalize its spectrum holdings. The carrier obtained the 700 MHz A and B licenses — as well as a nationwide 700 MHz upper C license, which is currently used for its 4G LTE service — in an auction through the Federal Communication Commission. Verizon is in the midst of acquiring additional Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum licenses that it plans to use in conjunction with its 700 MHz upper C spectrum to deploy additional LTE markets, and this proposed 700MHz A and B sale will only be conducted if Verizon’s AWS acquisition is successful. The spectrum licenses cover dozens of major markets such as New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, Dallas, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Verizon’s press release follows below.
Apple and Samsung are among the companies expected to take part in an upcoming sealed-bid auction of RPO’s manufacturing assets and patent portfolio, which covers technology surrounding the company’s Digital Waveguide Touch (DWT) solution. California-based RPO Inc. filed for bankruptcy in April of this year, and an auction to liquidate its protected manufacturing processes and IP portfolio will take place on November 3rd. The company’s DWT technology, which is touted as a superior touch solution that eliminates the need for a touch-sensitive layer, is seen as appealing to Apple, Samsung and other vendors seeking new methods to improve their smartphone and tablet displays. Read on for more. More →
A group of companies including Apple, Microsoft, Research In Motion, Sony, EMC and Ericsson offered the winning bid in an auction that will net them Nortel’s extensive portfolio of patents. The bankrupt telecommunications company held roughly 6,000 patents, and the six-company consortium’s winning bid came in at $4.5 billion. Among the big losers were Google, which opened the bidding at $900 million, and Intel. Patents within the massive cache cover a wide range of technologies including wireless, voice, networking, optical data transmission and 4G LTE. RIM said it would be responsible for $77o million of the winning bid, and Ericsson separately stated it would pay $340 million. The rest of the companies in the consortium did not disclose their contributions.
A bankruptcy judge on Thursday approved Dish Network’s winning bid and gave it the OK to acquire Blockbuster for $320 million. Dish’s bid topped other bidders including Cobalt Video, a group of hedge funds lead by Monarch Alternative Capital, and billionaire investor Carl Icahn earlier this week at an auction for Blockbuster’s business and assets. New York Judge Burton Lifland gave his approval in bankruptcy court, and Dish will now assume control of 1,700 remaining Blockbuster locations, the company’s DVD-by-mail business and its streaming video business. Now that a judge has approved the deal, Dish is expected to pay roughly $228 million for Blockbuster when factoring in the value of the fallen video giant’s remaining cash and other assets. Proceeds from the sale will help Blockbuster’s creditors, which include multiple movie studios and Carl Icahn, reclaim a portion of the $1 billion they are collectively owed. More →
Pending approval at a hearing scheduled for Thursday, Dish Network will acquire Blockbuster Inc. following an auction that took place earlier this week. The company’s winning bid was approximately $320 million but the acquisition is expected to land at about $228 million in cash, taking into account Blockbuster’s inventory, available cash and other adjustments. Blockbuster was put up for sale at an auction on Monday following its recent bankruptcy filing, and several companies competed for control of Blockbuster’s business and assets. Dish’s winning bid topped several other bidders including Cobalt Video, a group of hedge funds lead by Monarch Alternative Capital, and billionaire investor Carl Icahn. “Blockbuster will complement our existing video offerings while presenting cross-marketing and service extension opportunities for Dish Network,” said Dish Network’s EVP of sales, marketing and programing, Tom Cullen. More →
The business of smartphone production is starting to look more like the a John Grisham legal novel. While handset makers try to out-innovate each other with high-end, spec-heavy handsets consumers will flock to, lawyers are trying to out-flank each other with patent suits and red-tape. No longer can you have an armada of talented engineers and a driven executive team, you also must possess a war chest of hardware and software patents to prevent your company from entering litigation limbo — just Google the words Nokia, Apple, and patent if you don’t know what we’re talking about. More →
The fate of Blockbuster is now up for auction. On Monday Blockbuster’s next owner, and future, will be decided. According to Reuters, it’s possible that a new owner could close the video rental chain, liquidate it entirely, or continue operations in a bid to compete with the likes of Netflix and the growing number of online media streaming services. Reportedly, Dish Network Corp. and Carl Icahn have already placed bids for the company, and SK Telecom is also interested. Monarch Alternative Capital LP opened the bidding at $290 million in February when Blockbuster put itself up for sale, and bids last week needed to be less than $296 million to qualify. It’s unclear how much Dish or Icahn bid on Blockbuster, but Dish Network reportedly has plans to continue building Blockbuster’s online movie offering should it win the auction. After a new owner is decided on Monday, it will have to be approved by bankruptcy judge on April 7th before the deal can move forward. Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy in September 2010. More →
Speaking to Reuters recently, Iraq’s communications minister, Mohammed Allawi, said he believes the auction for a fourth mobile phone operator license at the end of this year could fetch between $1 billion and $2 billion. Similarly, Allawi said that the licensing fees, installation and equipment required to install a new network would cost between $1 billion and $2 billion. 40% of the revenues raised from the auction would be given to the mobile operator, 35% would be given to the public, and the final 25% would be given to Iraq’s communication ministry. In 2007 AsiaCell, Korek Telcom, and Zain paid $1.25 billion each for 15-year mobile phone operator licenses. Allawi hopes that the fourth license will be used for faster data networks. “Regarding the fourth license, the most important thing about it is that we are going for more advanced technology,” Allawi said. “Until this moment, we have no 3G in Iraq, we have no 4G. We have only GSM.” More →
The FCC today announced that it will hold an auction on July 19, 2011 for sixteen licenses in the 700MHz spectrum. The government agency has two licenses that operate in the 698-704MHz and 728-734MHz frequencies (Block A) along with fourteen licenses that operate in the 704-710MHz and 734-740MHz frequencies (Block B); all sixteen licenses have a 2 x 6MHz pairing and 12MHz of bandwidth. The 700MHz spectrum is currently what wireless providers AT&T and Verizon Wireless are using to build out their 4G, LTE networks in the United States. The proceeding has been designated with the name “Auction 92.”
The AP reports that U.S. President Barack Obama will “double the available amount of wireless communications spectrum over the next 10 years in an effort to keep up with the ever-growing demand for high-speed video and data transmission to cell phones, laptops and other mobile devices.” The plan, which will call for the auctioning off of 500 MHz of federally owned spectrum, will be put into a Presidential Memorandum to be signed today. The White House, in an official statement said: “This initiative will catalyze private sector investment, contribute to economic growth and help to create hundreds of thousands of jobs.” The AP went onto report that revenue generated from the auction would go to “public safety, infrastructure investments and deficit reduction.” More →
Remember all those rumors that surfaced last year and spoke of an upgraded iPod Twith an on-board camera? Now is your chance to get your hands on not one, but two iPod Touch prototypes with the aforementioned rear-facing camera. The iPod Touches are designated DVT-1 and DVT-2 and are thought to be units produced for testing by Apple’s development team. These pieces of iPod history fell into the hands of the seller when he purchased them at a flea market from another seller who originally purchased them at an auction. One iPod is completely non-functional while the other boots and reveals a partially complete SwitchBoard OS. Interesting, isn’t it? Hit the jump for a few more shots of the prototypes. More →
First it was the White House that voiced its opposition earlier this week to the FCC’s plan for free wireless broadband using the white space spectrum, now it is Congress’s turn to weigh in on the matter. In a letter to the FCC, the incoming chairmen for the Senate and House Commerce committees, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), urged the FCC to focus on the upcoming digital TV transition and to stay away from “complex and controversial items that the new Congress and new administration will have an interest in reviewing” during the FCC’s next and final meeting for 2008. The FCC responded by saying that it is reviewing the letter and will reach out to the other offices before making a final decision on the vote. This request for a delay is in direct opposition to the request made by M2Z networks, a potential licensee of this white space spectrum and one of the driving forces behind the free wireless broadband proposal, which claimed that “any further delay from the FCC on this matter would result in the violation of a self-imposed Congressional deadline and would constitute a violation of the Communications Act.” With increasing pressure from both sides and the December 18th meeting drawing closer, the FCC only has a few short days to render a decision. The only thing we can be sure of is that the decision, regardless of which way it falls, will surely generate yet another round of controversy.
Score one for Google and company as the FCC has cleared the way for the use of the white space spectrum for free, nationwide wireless internet service. Calling the reports of interference by the opposition as being “overblown”, recent tests conducted by FCC engineers in Seattle showed that the white space could be used for wireless internet service without a significant risk of harmful interference. Bad news for T-Mobile who has vehemently opposed the plan as their recently launched 3G network, which they purchased for $4 billion a few years ago by the way, borders this white space spectrum. D’oh! The FCC is expected to finalize the rules for the usage and allocation of the spectrum in preparation for an auction sometime in early to mid-2009. Free wireless Internet access that will reach 50% of the U.S. population in four years and 95% within a decade? Bring it on!