We're sure that you've been following the FCC's blow-by-blow coverage of the AWS (Advanced Wireless Services) spectrum auction as closely as you would the "So You Think You Can Dance" competition, but just in case you've been busy for the last 161 rounds of bidding, we're here to let you know that the results are in and the winners have been crowned (assuming that they cough up the millions or billions of dollars they've pledged, that is). This wireless horse race has remained mostly unchanged for the last few dozen rounds -- after the DirecTV-Echostar consortium known as Wireless DBS dropped out of the running, even we mostly lost interest -- with T-Mobile finally emerging as the seemingly largest beneficiary. For a cool $4.1 billion (yes, that's billion with a "b"), the Mob picked up 120 licenses covering most of the US, a move that was essential for the company to kick-start its rather slow entrance into the 3G data game. Other big winners included Spectrum Co. and AWS Wireless, who picked up 137 and 154 licenses, respectively, along with Verizon (13 blocks covering most of the Eastern US) and MetroPCS, which snatched up 8 licenses in key areas such as Texas and Detroit. Overall, 104 bidders made it through the entire auction to pick up a grand total of 1,087 licenses, with the biggest winner of all being the good ole US government: the total amount of loot that was bid reached a staggering $13.7 billion, which is basically found money considering that everyone was simply battling over the right to use invisible radio spectrum. If you're at all interested in a more specific run-down of who got what and for how much, hit the Read link to check out the auction home page, where the FCC has thoughtfully posted about a million pages of charts, tables, and graphs laying it all out in excruciatingly boring detail.
T-Mobile wins with most money spent by a non-Government entity as well as number of population, spending $4.2b on 475m potential users. The number if bids won was led by AWS Wireless, a company backed by Allen Salmasi, better known as the man who pretty much single-handedly kept the United States behind the rest of the world in the wireless race (although most people don't recognize this these days). Sprint (SpectrumCo) and T-Mobile were just behind, with Cingular/AT&T finishing 6th.
Sprint, AWS Wireless, Cingular and T-Mobile finished atop the list for Business Economic Areas (BEA), with Sprint pretty much trumping everyone in this particular area (266m potential users to AWS's 2nd place of 29m).
Cellular Market Areas (CMA; the combination of both metro and rural areas) was dominated by AWS Wireless and T-Mobile, with TMO almost cover 100m total potential users in this classification.
Regional Economic Areas (REA) was covered almost entirely by T-Mobile, although Verizon and MetroPCS made moves as well. TMO gets 335m potential users in this bid.
More Info: FCC Auctions: Summary: Auction 66