The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is expected to reject ‘Auction 97’ AWS-3 spectrum bidding credits worth USD3.332 billion previously granted to two Designated Entity (DE) companies affiliated with US satellite TV giant DISH Network. According to the Wall Street Journal, which cites unnamed sources familiar with the matter, following a long review the agency has reportedly produced evidence that could make it tough to approve the controversial credits.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, DISH emerged from the proceedings as the second highest bidder – behind AT&T – only to claim more than USD3 billion in discounts due to a technicality. Rather than bid directly, DISH invested in a pair of ‘bidding partners’, SNR Wireless and NorthStar Wireless, and under the DE programme the duo saw their collective bill slashed from USD13.327 billion to USD9.995 billion, prompting widespread industry criticism.
After more than two months and 341 rounds of bidding, Auction 97 concluded on 29 January 2015, earning the FCC USD41.329 billion in total potential winning bids.