Comcast's $1.7B in spectrum bids falls below expectations

T-Mobile US led spenders in the auction, coughing up nearly $8 million to buy 600 MHz of spectrum. Among the top wireless companies,  AT&T spent just $910 million and Verizon spent nothing. 

Comcast spent only $1.7 billion to acquire spectrum during the FCC’s just-completed Broadcast Incentive Auction, coming in short of analyst projections. 

Purchasing through CC Wireless Investment, Comcast bought 10 MHz of spectrum covering about 145M POPs in its own footprint within New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Philadelphia. 

MoffettNathanson analyst had expected Comcast to spend up to $6 billion at the auction, while New Street Research projected the MSO to spend about $4 billion. 

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The forward auction generated $19.3 billion in net proceeds, with Dish Network emerging as a surprise big spender, laying out more than $6.2 billion. 

“We had expected Dish to be a de minimis player in the auction,” Moffett said in a note to investors today. “Dish’s spectrum spending underscores the growing importance of the company’s valuation as it relates to their spectrum holdings.”

T-Mobile US led spenders, coughing up nearly $8 billion to buy 600 MHz of spectrum. Among the top wireless companies,  AT&T spent just $910 million and Verizon spent nothing. 

In the reverse incentive auction, NBCUniversal sold spectrum in three duopoly markets, New York, Chicago and Philadelphia, receiving proceeds of $481.6 million 

“There are three big surprises here,” Moffett added. “Comcast bought less than expected, Dish Network bought more, and Verizon bought nothing at all.”

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