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Looking to the future May 3, 2007

Posted by Jasper in broadband, NGN, Technology.
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CA-net news has some interesting references to the future of the internet and broadband technologies.

FTTH Council Video: A FTTH Council provides a very high level perspective of the Internet and its current challenges and provides evidence of the tsunami of data that will fill networks with the distribution of video. Their point is of course that the surge in data requires update of the last mile (amoung other things).

Jon Crowcroft Interview, Article on the challenges of P2P running on today’s networks, Article on why IPTV is doomed to fail: Jon Crowcroft claims that heat loading at data centers will make distribution of video through traditional client server models impossible, and that P2P will be the only practical way of distributing such content. This is why many argue that the traditional telco NGN architecture with IPTV is doomed to failure.

Sweden: Government report on broadband January 5, 2007

Posted by Jasper in broadband, Strategy.
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Before Christmas I had a closer look at the broadband strategy in Sweden. At that time I wasn’t aware of a report published in December last year by the Government’s working group on IT infrastructure and broadband (under the IT Policy Strategy Group).

The working group produced the following vision for the area:

Sweden must be the country where an efficient and secure IT infrastructure provides the best conditions for enterprise, innovation and eServices, both public and private. IT must enable Swedish people to access the services they need, no matter where they are.

To achieve the vision they set up the following general objectives for IT infrastructure:

The whole of Sweden should have an efficient and future-proof infrastructure for electronic communications with high transfer capacity in both directions, so as to enable good technical quality of transfer for multimedia services, in a functional, cost-effective and competitive market.

They mention a number of measures that need to be adopted to achieve this oal including:

  • developing an IT policy agenda within general industrial policy;
  • broadband subsidies;
  • investment in fibre-cabling;
  • built-out and coordination of passive infrastructure (ducts, poles etc.); and
  • a predictable spectrum policy.

The most important aspect is that the measures adopted should be characterised by their long-term and foreseeable nature – all with a view to creating a market, where there is sound competition, in which the end-user is in focus and where there are incentives for investments and innovation.

The report contains a separate section that dwells on why governments (municipal, state and national) should focus on the build out of “passive” infrastructure to enable broadband for all.

The report is available here (in English).

Boxing day December 27, 2006

Posted by Jasper in broadband.
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An opinion piece in The Australian came out on Boxing Day which is based on short report I wrote for the Competitive Carriers Coalition. I had hoped it would have hit the streets a few weeks earlier, but such is the workings of the newspaper business. Full (original) text below.

Thinking outside (Telstra’s) box on broadband

In recent weeks, key industry leaders have openly criticised the status of broadband in Australia. Rupert Murdoch chairman of News Corporation (publisher of The Australian) labelled broadband services in Australia “a disgrace” and said that the federal government and Telstra should invest up to $12 billion in a new network – comments later echoed by James Packer. Telstra claims that its incentive to invest is restricted by the regulatory regime for access to its network.

However, turning to Telstra to solve our broadband problems is antiquated and inappropriate. It is a far cry from the approach adopted in other jurisdictions to assume that the response to low broadband availability must be assisting the incumbent to undertake core investment. Options are available that can promote bringing fibre closer to end-users without providing more assistance to Telstra.

Australia can learn from approaches undertaken overseas to improve our broadband access. Evidence suggests that Australia is far from the forefront in broadband penetration and inadequate in broadband speed – a fact acknowledged by Telstra Chief Executive Sol Trujillo. In terms of access speed, around 35% of plans in Australia have speeds of 256Kbps or less. This contrasts most starkly with Sweden where some 25% of plans have speeds of 20Mbps or up to 80 times faster those on 256Kbps plans. Further, it is important to remember that the world does not stand still. To improve our standing we have to improve faster than the current trendsetters, not just catch up to where they are now.

Turning to the incumbent for help would have been appropriate in pre-liberalisation days before the introduction of competition. Today we move in a different era, where answers are needed to a different set of questions. Indeed in no jurisdiction have politicians or regulators looked blindly to the historical incumbent for help to ensure the broadband future. On the contrary, in countries like Sweden, which has an extremely successful broadband strategy, the government has stimulated the building of new networks as a competitive alternative to the national champion TeliaSonera.

That said, a range of policies have been put in place to stimulate investment overseas, suggesting that one solution does not fit all. It would be a mistake simply to import experiences from other countries with blind faith in their workings. The solution must be tailored to Australia’s economic, geographical, cultural and educational situation.

To encourage further investment, we must also recognise that broadband poses many uncertainties for investors. The most significant is demand. Some believe demand for broadband will be driven by video services while others focus on options for social interaction. Each of these has implications for the roll-out of infrastructure. Regardless of beliefs, the only thing that is certain is that demand for broadband services is uncertain and unknown. However, demand‑side uncertainty can be reduced. South Korea is a good example of a country that has pursued a successful demand‑side strategy. This policy has focused on education and targeting of those that are less technically adept. Broadband is available to almost 100% of the South Koreans and some 26% of the population are subscribers.

An alternative is to create a better environment for investment in broadband by stimulating the supply side of the market. International experience here is broad and varied. There is, however, a clear tendency to delegate locally – moving away from a focus on national solutions to allow greater flexibility in responding to local need and conditions.

The most effective broadband strategies are those that touch upon a wide variety of factors and engage a broad set of players – an approach that Senator Helen Coonan’s recent blueprint for Australian would appear to endorse. Of particular importance is the focus on competition and its crucial role in the creation of a viable and sustainable broadband market.

Indeed it is exactly the focus on competition that has spurred much of the debate in regulatory circles of how best to encourage investment in broadband, including both vertical and horizontal separation. The importance of competition is acknowledged even in the United States where there is no requirement for a regulated access regime. The fundamental underpinning of US regulatory regime is that the future number of end-to-end broadband providers will be sufficient to ensure adequate levels of competition in the market. Under these circumstances, there is no need for regulated access to new fibre networks.

A sustainable broadband market requires sustainable competition. Turning to Telstra is the wrong response and not what has been done in other jurisdictions. It is a wrong response because it is an answer to the wrong question. It is backward-looking and stifles competition in an environment that needs to be forward-looking and pro-competitive. Creating a competitive environment is the only way to improve Australia’s broadband situation.

Australia: Broadband in WA December 4, 2006

Posted by Jasper in broadband, Uncategorized.
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The Western Australian (WA) government has unveiled a plan designed to connect homes, businesses, schools and all state government departments to a high-speed state-wide broadband network (see media release here). The StateWide Broadband Network (SBN) strategy will provide broadband speeds of 10 M-bits in the early stages. The government will pool the $A100 million it currently spends on telecom services each year to offer a 10-year, $A1 billion contract to facilitate the installation of the network. The WA government says that the scheme, which is based on a model implemented in Alberta, Canada, will be put out to tender in early 2007. For more information on the SBN, click here.

France: Share fibre costs November 13, 2006

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Arcep has called for operators to co-operate and share the burden of investing in fibre access networks. Some exerpts from the Reuters article below:

In a speech delivered to a conference, Paul Champsaur, head of Arcep, estimated the cost of a national roll-out of such a network at “several tens of billions of euros” over a decade.

“The economic equation is challenging. On the one hand investments required to develop super high-speed networks are quite significant, and on the other hand questions are raised about the additional revenues that can make these networks profitable,” Champsaur said.

As a solution, Champsaur called for operators to cooperate and pool together their investments.

“The pooling of civil engineering infrastructure work and of the cabling of buildings is to play a fundamental role,” Champsaur said, adding that Arcep would encourage such pooling.

“It is absolutely necessary to establish a genuine cooperation between different players from the audiovisual and telecoms worlds so as to develop new economic models, new usages and innovative services,” Champsaur said.

See the Reuters article here.

The Netherlands: Cable unbundling November 2, 2006

Posted by Jasper in broadband, Regulation.
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This is slightly old news, but nonetheless important. On 24 October Dutch parliamentarians voted to approve a proposal that forces domestic cable TV companies (CATV) to share their networks with rivals. The new proposal is effectively a cable network unbundling (CNU) initiative and replicates the local loop unbundling (LLU) scenario in traditional telecoms networks. It also sets a precedent as this is the first time that authorities have succeeded in bringing forth legislation that would harmonise regulations for cablecos and their telco counterparts. Hence after years of insisting on a privileged classification, the cable industry may come under the same regulations as the telecoms industry.

Presently, the EC is silent on CNU, focusing instead on LLU in traditional telephone networks and the new fibre access networks incumbent telecoms companies plan to roll-out in future. Prima facie, the arguments for intervention in the CATV may not hold for the CATV industry, so it will interesting to see how this develops.

Germany: VDSL – nothing new October 31, 2006

Posted by Jasper in broadband, Regulation.
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According to the Associated Press the European Union reiterated Monday that it would take Germany to court if its parliament passes a law that allows Deutsche Telekom AG to shut out rivals from its high-speed broadband network.

It has been a while since I have seen any action on the German access holiday issue, so I was starting to wonder what might have happened. As it turns out – nothing.

EU spokesman Martin Selmayr warned that legal action would be ”unavoidable” if Berlin ignored the European Commission’s view that the law unfairly discriminates against other investors and would ultimately hurt funding for the telecoms sector. ”The Commission does not take the view that competition is the enemy of investment,” Selmayr said. ”We have indicated a number of times that we will exercise our duty … to challenge any law that is incompatible with the (EU) treaty.”

Selmayr was responding to media reports that quoted German official Bernd Pfaffenbach as saying the government had no plans to change the law.

OECD Broadband statistics 2006 October 13, 2006

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Today the OECD published their broadband stats to June 2006. Access them here. Some key findings are:

  • Denmark leads the OECD with a broadband penetration rate of 29.3 subscribers per 100 inhabitants.
  • Australia and New Zealand continue to perform poorly, only ranked 17 and 22 respectively in broadband penetration.
  • There has been strong per-capita subscriber growth in western Europe.
  • Fibre to the home is becoming increasingly important for broadband access, particularly in countries with high broadband penetration. In Denmark, Danish power companies are rolling out fibre to consumers as they work to bury overhead power lines. Municipal broadband projects are also expanding in many northern European countries and throughout the OECD.
  • Japan leads the OECD in fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) with 6.3 million fibre subscribers in June 2006. Fibre subscribers alone in Japan outnumber total broadband subscribers in 22 of the 30 OECD countries.
  • The United States has the largest total number of broadband subscribers in the OECD at 57 million.

Australia: NEXT G October 6, 2006

Posted by Jasper in broadband, Mobile.
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Today, Telstra formally announced the launch of its nationwide AU$ 1 billion 3G network called NEXT G. Something I was made acutely aware of this morning by loud live music ricocheting off buildings disturbing my otherwise quite office surroundings. The Telstra launch party had installed itself by the Brisbane River no more than 30 meters from my office building. I am surprised that this is allowed in the CBD on an otherwise normal Friday. Nevertheless, there are number of interesting aspects to the launch.

Telstra is rolling out their 3G network using 2100Mhz & 850Mhz in combination. As far as I am aware Telstra are the only carrier in the world to do this. As of yet it is unclear what this will mean in terms of speed. Telstra claims that in March next year it will be able to offer peak speeds of up to 14.4Mbit/s and in 2009 up to 40Mbit/s. Bold promises, but will they deliver and what happens in the 850MHz range? The unique approach will also be a challenge for Telstra in terms of handset availability. Not surprisingly, Telstra’s handset range will initially be limited to three models.

To use the service for broadband data access, Telstra is currently offering a “NEXT G turbo card”, with initial plans offering 400MB for AU$79.95/month and AU$109.95/month for 1GB – not cheap by any means.

Still, good news that Telstra’s mobile network has been upgraded and that its upgrade has a 98% demographic coverage (see coverage map below). But I am still waiting for someone to step up to the plate and build a true high speed fibre based network. Now that would be an announcement and something that Australians desperately need.

national2.jpg

Access network terminology October 5, 2006

Posted by Jasper in broadband, Technology.
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The Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) Councils of Asia Pacific, Europe, and North America have announced completion of a new resource to provide worldwide standardization of terminology used in the FTTH industry. The mission of the FTTH Councils includes the communication to stakeholders in their respective regions of the extent of usage of FTTH throughout the world and forecasting the growth of FTTH. According the the Councils this task has been made difficult by the proliferation of terms and acronyms that lack precise definitions. Accordingly they have published a Definition of Terms.

The document provides definitions for commonly utilized industry terms describing access network terminology. It can be downloaded here.

Good to see this type of initiative. Different interpretations of terms can create endless misunderstandings and promote fruitless discussion.

Japan: The need for speed October 2, 2006

Posted by Jasper in broadband, Costing, NGN, Regulation.
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Japanese incumbent NTT Group plans to build a 10-Tbit/s optical backbone network to cope with the capacity demands of a growing FTTH and high-speed DSL customer base. The carrier’s growth in high-speed broadband connections is putting its current 1-Tbit/s backbone under strain. NTT says it needs to step up from its current DWDM backbone, which multiplexes 10-Gbit/s signals, to a 10-Tbit/s network that can support multiple 100-Gbit/s channels because “data traffic has been doubling every year due to the rapid spread of broadband access.” Most of NTT’s broadband customers have at least 50-Mbit/s connections. See article in Lightreading for more information.

With greater and greater bandwidth and increasingly more greedy data applications the core network backbone must adapt. From a cost modelling perspective this can only mean one thing: the relative cost of a voice interconnect must be declining. This is particularly the case when considering the cost of a forward-looking network, where voice and data services are fully integrated.

UK: Launch of quadruple-play September 29, 2006

Posted by Jasper in broadband, Mobile.
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NTL has announced the launch of the UK’s first quadruple-play package. The service will offer digital TV, mobile services, internet access and fixed-line telephony, for a monthly charge of £40 (US$75.7). According to the NTL media release the quad package includes:

Broadband
• Up to 2Mb with no limits on downloads
• Firewall and anti-virus software included
• Installed by an expert and modem included
Digital TV
• Over 30 channels, including Sky One, UKTV Gold, E4, Film4, ITV2 and LIVINGtv
• On demand access to a huge library of programmes and films – watch what you want, when you want
• Set-top box included and no need for a dish
Home phone
• Unlimited weekend calls to any UK landline
• Highly competitive mobile rates and simple tariffs at other times
• Standard features including 1471 and 1571 voicemail
Mobile
• A Virgin Mobile SIM
• 300 texts and 300 minutes a month, plus free voicemail
• Access to Virgin Mobile Bites entertainment service

The move is the first realisation of the potential of the combined NTL-Virgin partnership. NTL is expected to rebrand the entire company under Richard Branson’s ubiquitous Virgin name next year. It bought Virgin Mobile earlier this year in a deal that made Branson NTL’s largest shareholder.

One of the key hurdles for NTL will be ensure a high-quality customer service with all four options given that the company is still trying to integrate the companies.

World: The Broadband pie and WiMax September 26, 2006

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Yesterday’s Seattle Times featured a nice and easy to read story on the promises of WiMax and how it fits into the general scheme of things. Also they provided the following figure which also gives a nice impression of positioning in the market.

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The article is available here. WiMax is increasingly in the media as plans of deployment are made public and WiMax networks are being deployed. I am guessing 2007 will be the year when WiMax makes a solid break through.

Italy: Unica September 20, 2006

Posted by Jasper in broadband, Mobile, VoIP.
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Amidst the rather chaotic telcom market in Italy, Telecom Italia has (according to Total Telecom) quietly launched a UMA service called Unica. The service simply appeared on the telco’s Web site at the beginning of last week without all the whistles and bells the market had been expecting. Although this is probably not surprising given the sudden change in strategy with the split of fixed and mobile businesses.

The service as been subjected to regulatory scrutiny, which has resulted in the launch of a restricted offer where Telecom Italia only is permitted to sign up 30,000 customers for a six month period.

Unica is available to customers with a Telecom Italia fixed-line service, TIM consumer mobile tariffs and DSL/VoIP product Alice Voce. Unica carries a monthly subscription of €15 (plus €5/month for each additional handset) and customers will also be required to buy the Unica Pack for €369, comprising the Samsung SGH-P200 dual-mode GSM/WiFi handset and an Alice ADSL2+ WiFi modem.

The service enables users to make free calls from the home via the fixed phone or the Samsung handset, using voice over WiFi, and GSM calls away from home. Up to five mobile numbers can be assigned to the same contract.

The offer seems comparable to Home Free in Denmark in price and appears to have the same functionality. Will be interesting to see what the future holds for Unica against the current turmoil.

For more information see Total Telecom and/or Telecom Italia Unica page (in Italien)

US: Broadband auction ends September 19, 2006

Posted by Jasper in broadband, General, Mobile.
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Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) auction of advanced wireless services spectrum ended yesterday raising US$13.9 billion (gross). T-Mobile USA was the top bidder, bidding almost US$4.2 billion for 120 licenses. Verizon Wireless agreed to pay US$2.8 billion for 13 licenses, while a consortium, Spectrum Co, that includes cable companies Comcast and Time Warner along with Sprint Nextel agreed to pay almost US$2.4 billion for 137 licenses.  Due to anti-collusion rules, the companies are not permitted to talk about what their plans for the spectrum are until they make a down payment.

From the results it is clear that the country’s largest providers have dominated the auction. So, any hope that new entrants would shake up the market has dwindled. 

Based on various sources (primarily RCR Wireless News and cellular news) I have complied the bidding behaviour from start on till finish. The 28-day-long auction ended after 161 rounds, with 104 of the 168 registered bidders winning at least one license. All but 35 of the total 1,122 licenses up for grabs received bids.  Detailed information on the auction can be found at the FCC. Click here.

And here is the summary…

August 9: T-Mobile USA dominates first round of AWS auction
T-Mobile USA Inc. led the first round of bidding, placing bids for spectrum that would substantially expand its national footprint. The carrier bid for 20 megahertz of spectrum in each of six regions across the country, as well as additional spectrum in markets such as San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas-Ft. Worth and many other markets. T-Mobile USA placed seven of the top 10 highest bids and bid highest for the Great Lakes, Northeast and Western regional licenses. The nation’s fourth-largest carrier also made more than half of the 40 highest bids so far.

August 10: T-Mobile USA continues aggressive play
T-Mobile USA Inc. is dominating the Federal Communications Commission’s spectrum auction after three rounds in terms of sheer dollars, with $226.6 million in bids so far. The carrier is the high bidder on 25 spectrum licenses covering 235 million potential customers.

August 11: NextWave strikes back
NextWave Telecom Inc.-backed AWS Wireless Inc. made three of the highest bids in the sixth round of the advanced wireless services spectrum auction, capturing—at least temporarily—the highly coveted Great Lakes regional 20-megahertz license as well as a 20-MHz license that covers 31 million pops in the Mississippi Valley and another that covers about 50 million pops in the West.

August 14:  $4.1B and counting
Bidding is picking up speed in the FCC’s advanced wireless services spectrum auction, with the total value of provisionally winning bids jumping from more than $2.4 billion late Friday to more than $4.1 billion in the two rounds held so far today.

August 15: Verizon Wireless throws weight around
Verizon Wireless staked a claim to all six of the largest licenses for sale in the advanced wireless services auction, bidding $3.5 billion in round 14 of the auction for 20 megahertz of spectrum covering the entire continental United States.

August 16: Satellite players call it quits
Satellite television providers EchoStar Communications Corp. and DirecTV Group Inc. have pulled out of the advanced wireless service spectrum auction.

August 17: Dolan Family Drops Out Of Auction; Bids Over $11 Billion

After initially placing big bids, the Dolan family (Dolan Family Holdings, based in Woodbury, N.Y) withdrew from the auction without winning any licenses.  The withdrawal came as the total amount of bids placed in the auction reached almost $11.1 billion. There hasn’t been any bidding on the five most expensive licenses for the past six rounds, raising the possibility that the winning bids for those licenses have already been placed. The top five bids by dollar value have been placed by companies controlled by Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile USA, and a group that includes buyout firm Madison Dearborn Partners.

August 18: Dust settles around Verizon and T-Mobile

The battle for the large regional licenses appears to be largely settled at this point, with Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA Inc. the big winners.

August 21: Bidding remains robust in smaller licenses

Bidding remained active on the ninth day of the auction, as bidders continued to focus their attention on smaller licenses now that bidding on big regional licenses appears to have ended.

August 21: Bidding remains fierce for metro and small regional

Just as at any yard sale after a long weekend, the big, expensive items are long gone and the persistent shoppers have continued to rummage about for the unappreciated gems that add significant value to their own current holdings.

August 23: Bidding nears $13 billion

The total amount raised is creeping toward $13 billion, although each round is raising less money that the previous. However, bidding is still active on a number of licenses; the number of licenses with new high bids continues to hover near 300. 

August 24: Cable gaining steam

Some of the players who were squeezed out of regional spectrum licenses early in the auction seem to be making up the loss with dozens of smaller geographic licenses.

August 25: Bidding slows as third weeken breaks near 

The Sprint Nextel Corp./cable joint venture appears to be achieving a national footprint without the benefit of costly regional licenses.

August 28: Bidding continues to slow

Bidding has slowed dramatically with an average of about 140 new bids placed in the last few rounds. This compares to 240 bids in recent rounds. The leaders in overall bidding are still in place after round 50, and they stack up like this:

  1. T-Mobile at $3.9 billion
  2. Verizon Wireless at $2.8 billion
  3. SpectrumCo at $2.2 billion
  4. MetroPCS at $1.4 billion
  5. Cingular at $1.2 billion

August 29: FCC attempts to spur auction action

In a sign that the auction is drawing nearer to conclusion, the FCC increased the number of bidding rounds per day from 4 to 6. The auction has garnered nearly $13.6 billion in bids following round 58, though the number of bids per round has fallen by half to around 150 bids per round.

August 30: Battle brewing between smaller bidders

NextWave Telecom Inc. continues to elbow other companies for spectrum, holding 144 high bids on spectrum through its AWS Wireless Inc. bidding subsidiary worth about $121 million at the end of round 61.Dobson Communications Corp., has been dueling with AWS for licenses in Maryland, Kentucky and New York. One of the Kentucky licenses, the Kentucky 4-Spencer license, is currently going for about 18 cents per-MHz-per-pop for a total price of $960,000 and is held by NextWave. Meanwhile, Dobson outbid NextWave for spectrum in Glens Falls, N.Y. with an offer of 6 cents per-MHz-per-pop, or $140,000 total.

August 31: Is the end near?

Bidding continues to slow with only 91 new bids being entered in round 67, though the number of bids was up slightly from the 83 bids placed in rounds 65 and 66. The number of bids per round has been below 100 since round 62.

September 1: NextWave, Dobson remain active as auction breaks for holiday

NextWave Telecom Inc. and Dobson Communications Co. are the two most active bidders remaining.  The bidding continued to wind down on Friday, with an average of 63 new bids per round for the last three rounds of the week. Only 110 of the 168 eligible bidders remain. Bidding will resume on Tuesday after the Labor Day holiday. The auction so far has raised about $13.7 billion, and 1,055 of the 1,122 licenses offered have received bids.

September 5: Jousting continues as bidding winds down

The auction continues to creep toward a close, with just 64 bids in recent rounds. Of the 64 new bids placed in round 77, eight came from Dobson, 14 came from NextWave, and another 14 came from Red Rock. Leap chipped in half a dozen, and the Sprint Nextel-cable JV placed four.

September 6: Verizon Wireless kicks T-Mobile USA out of Hawaii

Dobson dominated round 85 placing nearly half of the new bids in the round. Verizon Wireless also re-entered the fray after watching from the sidelines for much of the bidding. The carrier placed a $4.1 million high bid on a 20-megahertz F-block license covering Hawaii; T-Mobile USA Inc. had previously held the license.

September 7: Verizon Wireless shows renewed interest as bids dwindle

Bidding has slowed to a trickle with thirty or fewer new bids received in the last few rounds. But a few tussles are still ongoing, including Verizon Wireless trying to edge the Sprint Nextel Corp.-cable company joint venture out of spectrum in Louisiana. Verizon Wireless is also still fighting for licenses in Hawaii. The nation’s No. 2 carrier had been sitting on the sidelines during most of the auction after picking up several of the most expensive licenses in early rounds.

September 8: Skirmishes continue in Louisiana, Iowa and Hawaii

Spectrum in Louisiana, Iowa and Hawaii is still attracting competition from bidders large and small. After more than 100 rounds of bidding over 22 days, the FCC has received fewer than 20 bids in each of the last three rounds. But battles are still going on. Analysts expect to see the auction go on for at least another week or two, and possibly continue until the end of the month.

September 11 -15: Bidding continues to slow

After 141 rounds, T-Mobile has provisionally won 119 licenses in major markets like New York City and Chicago with offers of almost US$4.2 billion. The auction grossed almost US$13.9 billion on Thursday, but would net about US$13.7 billion, because of discounts offered to entrepreneurial bidders. Four bids were made in the round 141.

September 18: Bidding slows to a crawl and ends

No new bids in round 161 – Auction ends.