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Verizon Wireless to Auction Spectrum

As it awaits Federal Communications Commission approval for its nearly $4 billion acquisition of wireless licenses from a quartet of cable operators, Verizon Wireless said it is readying an auction for a separate spectrum block to rationalize its holdings.

Verizon Wireless said it plans to conduct an open sales auction for all of its 700 Megahertz A and B spectrum licenses, covering dozens of major cities across the country. Verizon acquired the licenses for about $4.4 billion in 2008.

The auction is contingent on the closing of Verizon's pending $3.6 billion deal to acquire AWS spectrum held by cable consortium SpectrumCo, including cable operators Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. In addition, in December Verizon agreed to buy additional AWS spectrum owned by Cox Communications in a deal valued at $315 million. Those deals are in various stages of review by the FCC and the Dept. of Justice and if approved are expected to close by mid-summer.

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