BEDMINSTER, NJ — Verizon Wireless today notified the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that the company is prepared to open bidding at $5 billion for 10 MHz of nationwide PCS spectrum in the 1.9 GHz band should the Commission, as required by law, determine to make spectrum in that band available for auction to the highest bidder. The FCC is currently deliberating how to solve interference to public safety caused by Nextel's radio transmissions; Nextel argues that it will fix the problems it has created for public safety throughout the nation only if it is rewarded with an extraordinary grant of prime spectrum in the 1.9 GHz band. This would violate FCC rules, federal law and more than a decade of U.S. spectrum policy. Verizon Wireless, law enforcement and others have long noted that Nextel's interference with public safety channels can be resolved within the 800 MHz band, without grabbing at valuable spectrum that should be put to best public use in an auction.
In a letter to John Muleta, Chief of the FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, Verizon Wireless Vice President Business Development Molly Feldman emphasized that by not following long-defined spectrum auction law, and instead providing Nextel with a multi-billion dollar spectrum give-away, the federal treasury and American taxpayers will be harmed from the loss of billions of dollars that would otherwise be paid by the highest bidders.
Feldman wrote, "The fact that Nextel has demanded this spectrum as its price for promising to rectify interference to public safety operations does not justify the Commission's acquiescence in Nextel's demand. The only proper action for the 1.9 GHz spectrum is to auction it to the highest bidder. I thus advised you that Verizon Wireless was willing to participate in an immediate auction of the 1.9 GHz spectrum."
Feldman continued, "Verizon Wireless remains ready to participate in an immediate auction of a nationwide license for the 10 MHz (specifically, the 1910-1915 and 1990-1995 MHz bands). We are prepared to submit an initial, opening round bid of $5.0 billion. Our willingness to bid depends on the Commission's designation of the bands for a nationwide Broadband PCS license and the adoption of the PCS rules for the spectrum, as requested in our petition. The Commission should have no issue with taking these actions immediately."
A copy of the letter may be found at http://www.verizonwireless.com/news/pdf/Feldman_Letter_4.8.04.pdf
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 37.5 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. To receive broadcast-quality video footage of Verizon Wireless operations, log onto www.thenewsmarket.com/verizonwireless.