Wireless carriers get pass on withdrawal
Federal regulators have revealed that Verizon Wireless and three other major mobile telephone carriers won permission to withdraw more than $13.7 billion worth of bids for scores of wireless licenses that have been tied up in a prolonged legal tussle.
The Federal Communications Commission approved requests to pull out of the auction by Verizon Wireless, Alaska Native Wireless, Salmon PCS and VoiceStream Wireless – known as T-Mobile.
Most of the licenses were bought by NextWave Telecom for $4.7 billion in 1996, but the company filed for bankruptcy in 1998 after paying $500 million, which forced the FCC to try to repossess the airwaves and resell them.
Last month, the FCC agreed to let cash-strapped carriers out of their obligations to acquire the licenses without penalty.