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TOTAL REVENUES DIP A BIT IN D, E, F-BLOCK AUCTION

WASHINGTON-Federal Communications Commission statistics released Nov. 14, as of Round 109, show only one entrepreneur classified as a small business had dropped out of the current personal communications services auction along with 10 entrepreneurs in the “very small business” niche.

The small-business players have accounted for $32 million in aggregate high bids thus far, with $26 million committed to F-block properties. Very-small-business entrepreneurs have made $531 million of aggregate bids, $391 million of which is in the F block.

While these figures may show the staying power of some D-, E- and F-block bidders, not much has changed, money-wise, in the past week. Net revenues for the auction totaled $2.18 billion at the end of Round 112. Several Top 10 contenders withdrew bids on smaller markets, including SprintCom Inc., U S West Communications Inc., Western PCS BTA One Corp., OPCSE-Galloway Consortium and NextWave Power Partners Inc.

Between Rounds 100 and 112, SprintCom, the top D-and E-block bidder, dropped from $533.8 million in high bids to $532.2 million. During the same time period, Western PCS went from $67.3 million to $66.7 million.

Besides the negative change in net revenue from Round 100 to Round 112 due to these withdrawals, only four markets, all in the F block, changed price in the top 20 basic trading areas. The bid for Philadelphia went from $20.9 million to $22 million, Detroit went from $4.2 million to $4.6 million, Houston went from $4 million to $7.6 million and Phoenix went from $5.4 million to $7.9 million.

There were no movements in the other 54 licenses, making it appear that those winners, at least in the D and E blocks, are locked in. Prices for all markets need to pick up significantly-at least fivefold-as the auction begins to wind down if C-block revenues are to be topped.

C-block winner/defaulter National Telecom PCS Inc. finally got the bad news from the Wireless Telecom Bureau Nov. 12, when the order to fine the company $297,479 was released. NatTel did not make the down payment on its American Samoa license, costing it $245,859 in penalties; withdrawal fees resulting from NatTel’s dropping out of the Dodge City, Kan., and Williston, N.D., markets cost the company an additional $101,620. Payment is due within 30 days.

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