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.
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 ParkerB.com 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.