Why CenturyLink May Skip the Upcoming Spectrum Auction



CenturyLink sees alternatives

CenturyLink (CTL) has cast doubt over its participation in the upcoming airwaves auction in the United States. The FCC is planning to run two spectrum auctions starting in November. The spectrum on offer is expected to help wireless operators accelerate the development of 5G networks.

During its second-quarter earnings call, CenturyLink CEO Jeff Storey said that he had no plans to lead the company to a huge wireless spectrum purchase. Instead, Storey said that CenturyLink could achieve its expansion goal by utilizing unlicensed spectrum, particularly in rural markets. CenturyLink’s revenues dropped slightly to $5.9 billion in the second quarter from $6.0 billion in the second quarter of 2017.

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T-Mobile showing an appetite for spectrum

T-Mobile (TMUS) and Sprint (S), which are planning to start offering 5G services nationally in the next few years, have hinted they would participate in the upcoming FCC spectrum sale.

T-Mobile was the top bidder in the last government spectrum auction, which Sprint and Verizon (VZ) didn’t participate in. T-Mobile was joined by Dish Network (DISH), Comcast (CMCSA), and AT&T (T) in bidding in the previous auction. Dish, Comcast, and AT&T placed bids of $6.2 billion, $1.7 billion, and $910.0 million, respectively.

Dish building a wireless network

Dish Network, one of the companies that accumulated huge spectrum holdings, is working to build a wireless network. It plans to join its cable peers Comcast and Charter Communications (CHTR) in diversifying into the wireless business.


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