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Stockpiled NextWave Spectrum To Be Auctioned

Some of that valuable wireless spectrum stockpiled for nearly a decade by NextWave Telecom is expected to finally begin reaching the cell-phone market soon, as the firm prepares to auction off six licenses in July. The FCC plans, next year, to auction scores of licenses it acquired from NextWave in an agreement signed earlier this spring.

NextWave said it has asked permission to auction the six licenses from the bankruptcy court overseeing its reorganization. The firm added that it plans to auction the six PCS licenses for Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington-Baltimore. NextWave, which entered bankruptcy proceedings in the late 1990s, expects to emerge from bankruptcy after September 30.

"NextWave's plan is intended to pay all of its remaining creditors in full, mostly utilizing our existing cash reserve of over $450 million, and will allow the company to reorganize before year-end with a very strong balance sheet," said the firm's chairman and CEO, Allen Salmasi, in a statement.

In its agreement with the FCC, NextWave gave up a big piece of its spectrum to the FCC, which is planning next year, according the Wall Street Journal, to auction off 155 licenses in the coveted 1.9-GHz band that were formerly owned by NextWave. The FCC intends to auction an additional 79 licenses in the 1.9-GHz band in January.

As for the July auction, NextWave indicated that its proceeds will be used to prepare its reorganization plan.

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