BEDMINSTER, NJ — The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today issued a Public Notice indicating that it plans to develop a process to allow winning bidders in Auction 35 - the so-called "NextWave Reauction" - to opt out of the bids on licenses the D.C. Circuit subsequently ruled belonged to NextWave. Winning bidders in Auction 35 committed to paying more than $16 billion for NextWave licenses in February 2001, but have never received licenses in return for those bids. Resolving issues arising from Auction 35, which concluded in January 2001, continues to be a focus of the U.S. Congress as well as the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
Verizon Wireless, which bid more than $8 billion in Auction 35, urged the FCC to acknowledge that winning bidders have the ability to opt out of their bids earlier this year when it became clear that licenses were not going to be transferred to winners in a timely fashion. In the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressmen Cliff Stearns (R-Florida) and Rick Boucher (D-Virginia) introduced legislation requiring the FCC to allow winning bidders to opt out of their bids; U.S. Senators John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) and Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) introduced similar legislation in the U.S. Senate.
The following statement may be attributed to Denny Strigl, president and CEO of Verizon Wireless:
"FCC Chairman Michael Powell is doing the right thing. With an overhang of more than $16 billion for nearly two years, the entire U.S. wireless industry has suffered in limbo. We appreciate that the Commission recognizes the tremendous turmoil in the wireless and telecom marketplace. The Commission should promptly act on these proposals.
"I want to recognize the strong leadership of Congressmen Stearns and Boucher, and Senators Kerry and Brownback, who recognized early on that something had to be done, and continue to work so hard to bring a resolution to the Auction 35 problem. We encourage them to maintain their efforts until the Auction 35 issue is resolved.
"We commend Chairman Powell and the FCC for taking this important step, and the Administration for supporting this effort. We look forward to working with them to quickly put in place a workable opt-out regime which will provide a needed economic stimulus to the wireless industry."
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless is the nation's leading provider of wireless communications. The company has the largest nationwide wireless voice and data network and 30.3 million customers. Headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at www.verizonwireless.com.