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62 bidders qualify for FCC forward auction

The FCC said July 15 that 62 bidders made qualifying down paymentsto participate in the forward-auction portion of the 600 MHz incentive auction.

Among them are AT&TInc., Verizon CommunicationsInc., T-Mobile US Inc.,DISH Network Corp. andComcast Corp.

Bidding in the clock phase of the forward auction, in which wirelessoperators and other investors will bid to buy spectrum that was previously usedfor broadcast TV service, will begin Aug. 16.

The first stage of bidding in the reverse auction portion ofthe 600 MHz incentive auction concludedJune 29, with a clearing cost of $86.42 billion. For the incentive auction to closesuccessfully, the forward-auction bid prices must exceed the amount needed to buystations in the reverse auction, including the $1.75 billion in repacking expensesthe FCC has budgeted.

If the forward-auction bids come in below what the FCC alreadybid for stations in the reverse auction, the commission can either return to theforward-auction bidders and ask for more money or reduce the clearing target andamount of wireless licenses it is offering. If the latter happens, the auction wouldmove into a new stage of bidding.