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FCC radio spectrum auctions prone to anti-competitive behavior?

Brian White

A new study concludes what some wireless industry pundits have thought for some time: FCC radio auctions may not be an optimal format for assigning radio spectrum. The way that the FCC uses auctions for assigning spectrum licenses "could be" subject to anti-competitive behavior by incumbent carriers, according to the study. Well, surprise surprise! The study makes a point of stating that the auction format does not work in all circumstances to ensure the benefits of the efficient use of spectrum actually occur as a result. Want proof? How's this: the recent Advanced Wireless Services auctions last year ended up with 98% of the spectrum in large metro markets going to incumbents; only 2% went to new auction entrants.

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