Moffett: Comcast Bought Less Spectrum Than Expected

Comcast spent a lot less for spectrum than expected in the incentive auctions, MoffettNathanson's Craig Moffett concluded in a research note issued Thursday soon after the auction results were posted.

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Moffett said he expected Comcast to fork out about $6 billion net of proceeds from the reverse auction, but ended up spending just $1.7 billion for 10 MHz of spectrum covering about 145 million POPs in the MSO’s own footprint -- New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Philadelphia among the group, but nothing in Los Angeles or Dallas.       

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Comcast was one of three surprises Moffett took away from the results. He was also surprised to see that Dish spent $6.2 billion (through Wireless) for 18 MHz of spectrum on average nationally, while Verizon came away with nothing, though he expected Verizon to “buy a nominal amount of 600 MHz” capacity.

“We had expected Dish to be a de minimis player in the auction. Dish’s spectrum spending underscores the growing importance of the company’s valuation as it relates to their spectrum holdings,” Moffett wrote.

He said T-Mobile spent the most, $8.0 billion, which “was about what we expected,” while AT&T spent about $910 million, a bit less than he expected.