About 370 short-form applications were filed by deadline for the C-block personal communications services auction set to begin Dec. 11, but the federal government shutdown, which has rendered the Federal Communications Commission inactive since early last week, leaves it a mystery as to who many of those participants might be.
The short-form tally is ambiguous. Many companies reported to RCR they filed only one application for all interested markets, while others filed multiple applications. The FCC plans to auction 493 licenses in basic trading areas for next-generation digital pocket phones across the nation.
Virginia-based GO Communications Corp.’s Chief Financial Officer Lance Cawley said GO showed interest in bidding in all markets, filing only one application and checking the “all” box. The company is aiming for between 25 million and 75 million pops, or potential customers, among its licenses.
Next Wave, headed up by Allen Salmasi and Janice Obuchowski, indicated interest in all markets on its short-form application. The company, with offices in New York, Washington, D.C., and San Diego, said it will decide how many pops to shoot for at auction once the company sees how much capital it has raised by Nov. 27.
U.S. AirWaves Inc. of Bellevue, Wash., and DCR Communications Inc. of Washington, D.C., each checked the “all” box and indicated they will focus on the top 50 markets. DCR will shoot for at least 75 million pops, said President Jan Riker.
General Wireless of Dallas and National Telecom of Stamford, Conn., said they expressed interest in all markets on their applications.
InTouch PCS of Chicago filed an application showing interest in about 50 markets, said Tai Pham, the company’s chief technical officer. The company hopes to acquire about 8 million pops among licensed markets, which are concentrated in the Midwest and include the cities of Chicago, Indianapolis, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis and Kansas City, Pham said.
Impulse Telecommunications, based in Dallas, is targeting “a fairly large number of markets in the Southwest area,” said President Ed Jungermann, and indicated so on its application to the FCC.
Cook Inlet BellSouth PCS L.P., a partnership of Cook Inlet Region Inc., an Anchorage-based company, and BellSouth Personal Communications Inc., said it filed applications to bid on 43 licenses in the Southeastern United States. Roy Huhndorf, the partnership’s chairman and CEO, said the company is convinced it is investing in the best region in the nation.
Olympia, Wash.-based PCS L.P., a bidding group formed under U.S. Intelco Wireless Communications Inc., designated interest in a number of markets, also focusing in the Southeast, said Steve Olsen, U.S. Intelco director of finance administration and procurement.
Wisconsin Wireless, out of Little Chute, Wis., is the control group partner in WPCS, which filed three applications, two electronically over the Internet and on manually, said Barry James, senior vice president, corporate development for Wisconsin Wireless. James said the company will be eligible for more than 10 million pops. Wisconsin Wireless received an experimental PCS license from the FCC in 1991, noted James.
Milwaukee-based Indus Inc. said it filed interest in all markets, though it intends to acquire only about 3 million pops.
Others that filed, but did not disclose areas interested include Meretel, a Louisiana-based entity being operated by Eatelcorp and Mercury Cellular and Paging, Questcom of San Francisco, PCS Plus L.L.C. of Scottsdale, Ariz., and AirLink of Atlanta.
More knowledge of potential bidders should be uncovered after Nov. 27, the scheduled deadline for deposits. A company must put forth 45 cents for every pop that it hopes to win. A total of 75 million pops is at the high end of what the top players hope to acquire among markets, which would cost nearly $34 million up front.
Other companies that previously have stated they intend to participate include Omnipoint Corp., of Colorado Springs, Colo. and a multitude of companies affiliated with North American Wireless Inc., of Vienna, Va.