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Verizon Racks Up $1.9 Billion in Wins in Latest 5G Bandwidth Auction

By Eric Volkman – Sep 2, 2020 at 5:34PM

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It spent nearly $1 billion more than the runner-up in the bidding.

Verizon (VZ 1.66%) was the No. 1 winner in the government's latest auction for spectrum useful for 5G services, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said on Tuesday.

The FCC's auction took place on Aug. 25. It was for priority-access licenses in one portion of the 3.5 GHz band, for which it raised over $4.54 billion from 228 bidders -- a relatively high number for a spectrum auction.

Verizon was responsible for almost $1.9 billion of that total, making it far and away the most successful bidder. The distant No. 2 was satellite company DISH Network, which spent $913 million. Cable companies also participated eagerly in the auction; Charter Communications and Comcast spent $464 million and $459 million, respectively, in their bidding.

Depiction of a modern urban network.

Image source: Getty Images.

Verizon hasn't yet commented on the results of the auction. The company has ambitions to be a top mobile services provider in the 5G space, which promises ultra-fast connectivity speeds through wide "pipes."

This is ideal for devices using high-bandwidth services like streaming video. Such uses have seen a rise in demand dictated by the stay-in-place measures arising from the coronavirus pandemic.

Winning a swath of spectrum will also bring Verizon closer to rival T-Mobile US, which dramatically increased its licensed holdings with the absorption of Sprint and its assets.

The proceeds of the spectrum auction will be channeled to the U.S. Treasury. The next sell-off in 5G-suitable airwaves is set for December.

On Wednesday, Verizon's stock essentially kept pace with the broader equities market, closing the day nearly 1.5% higher.

Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Comcast, T-Mobile US, and Verizon Communications. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Verizon Communications Inc. Stock Quote
Verizon Communications Inc.
VZ
$39.81 (1.66%) $0.65
T-Mobile US, Inc. Stock Quote
T-Mobile US, Inc.
TMUS
$142.54 (2.62%) $3.64
DISH Network Corporation Stock Quote
DISH Network Corporation
DISH
$15.40 (4.12%) $0.61
Comcast Corporation Stock Quote
Comcast Corporation
CMCSA
$30.99 (2.08%) $0.63
Charter Communications, Inc. Stock Quote
Charter Communications, Inc.
CHTR
$328.54 (2.58%) $8.27

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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