US satellite firms bow out of wireless sale

17 Aug 2006

A joint venture of rival US-based satellite television providers DirecTV Group and EchoStar Communications bowed out of a US sale of valuable licenses for advanced wireless services, a Reuters report said.

The Reuters report said the Wireless DBS LLC venture initially showed strong interest in the auction and had paid the largest deposit of all 168 bidders that qualified for the sale, $972.5 million.

However, the group substantially reduced its participation.

Media conglomerate Liberty Media was also part of the satellite television bidding consortium, the Reuters report said.

The report said analysts were initially surprised by the level of interest by the top two satellite providers, but they said the combined effort was likely an attempt to win airwaves they could use to offer high-speed Internet access.

The Federal Communications Commission sale of 1,122 licenses has already raised more than $9 billion and analysts have forecast that the sale could raise as much as $15 billion, the report said.

The auction continues until there are no new bids, withdrawals or other activity, it said.

The Reuters report further said telephone, cable and satellite companies have been fighting to offer consumers a package of services that include television, broadband, and voice communications services, including wireless.

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