US consortium to pay £11bn for NextWave spectrum

A five-year dispute in the US has ended with a group of mobile carriers agreeing to pay $16bn (£11.1bn) to take over the 3G...

A five-year dispute in the US has ended with a group of mobile carriers agreeing to pay $16bn (£11.1bn) to take over the 3G spectrum originally acquired by NextWave Telecom, according to the Washington Post.

The companies - Verizon, Cingular, AT&T Wireless Services and VoiceStream Wireless - won a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) auction held earlier this year, the newspaper reported.

NextWave investors will receive $5bn (£3.4bn) and the federal government $11bn (£7.6bn). NextWave, which has been involved in bankruptcy proceedings since 1998, bid $4.8bn (£3.32bn) for the spectrum but defaulted on its payments. The company only ever paid $500m (£346m).

The agreement will end a dispute in which the FCC's right to re-auction the spectrum owing to NextWave's failure to pay the full licence fee was called into question.

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