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NextWave plans to sell wireless licences

25 апреля 2008

NextWave Wireless plans to put up for sale a large number of wireless licenses, opening the door to companies that were shut out during the last auction.

The San Diego wireless technology company said it will sell three blocks of spectrum that, pieced together, can cover 251 million people, or 84% of the U.S. NextWave tapped Deutsche Bank and UBS AG to explore the sale of the assets.

The increasing value of the spectrum, driven higher by the conclusion of the Federal Communications Commission's 700 megahertz auction, prompted NextWave to sell, Chief Financial Officer George Alex said in an interview with Dow Jones Newswires late Wednesday.

"Since the conclusion of the 700 megahertz auction, we've received incredible interest and inquiry regarding the purchase of our spectrum," Alex said."It's an opportune time. The prices paid in the (700 megahertz auction) were exceptional."

Alex declined to specify the current value of the spectrum blocks, which NextWave paid $500 million to acquire several years ago. The last auction raised more than $19 billion, but was primarily dominated by Verizon Wireless - jointly owned by Verizon Communications Inc. and Vodafone Group PLC - and AT&T Inc.

Verizon Wireless paid $9.36 billion for a nationwide block, plus 102 licenses for individual markets across the country.

NextWave is selling 223 licenses from three blocks of spectrum: the Advanced Wireless Service license in the 1.7 and 2.1 gigahertz bands, the Wireless Communication Service license in the 2.3 gigahertz band, and the Education Broadband Service and Broadband Radio Service licenses in the 2.5 gigahertz band.

While running on different bands, NextWave sells equipment that could tie the different frequencies together to create a virtual nationwide wireless network, Alex said. He noted that the higher band spectrum will be more valuable as carriers begin offering more advanced wireless services, such as video, over their networks. It will also be important as carriers move to fourth-generation, or 4G, networks.

An array of traditional wireless players and new entrants have expressed interest, Alex said. He expects the process to be concluded in July, adding that the company won't sell the spectrum if it doesn't get a sufficiently high offer.

NextWave is notorious for bidding aggressively in a Federal Communications Commission spectrum auction in 1996, only to declare bankruptcy two years later before paying the $4.7 billion it owed. It has since re-emerged as a new public company focused on wireless technologies such as WiMax.

Источник: Total Telecom

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