Former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya is planning to take on U.S. telecom giants Verizon and AT&T in the upcoming FCC incentive auction, Re/code reported.
In an interview at Tuesday’s M1 Summit, Palihapitiya said he is currently working to build a company, called Rama, that will be able to go head to head with industry titans in the battle for spectrum.
Palihapitiya said he plans to use the spectrum in collaboration with microcells and management from LotusFlare software to develop a wireless network solid enough to put him in competition with Verizon and AT&T. Palihapitiya’s new carrier company would allow subscribers to use any device on its network and would offer simplified billing, he said.
Palihapitiya said he expects the auction to cost him between $4 billion and $10 billion.
Though the wireless industry might seem like a tough nut to crack, recent developments related to the auction may give Palihapitiya room to run.
At the end of September, Sprint announced that it will not participate in the upcoming auction, citing its already “sufficient” spectrum holdings.
Earlier this week, Verizon, which is widely expected to participate in the auction alongside AT&T and T-Mobile, said 600 MHz spectrum is “not (its) top priority.” CFO Fran Shammo went on to say that the carrier isn’t interested in paying an exorbitant amount of money for the spectrum – particularly from Dish – and won’t be “held hostage” by any third party in its bidding.
Additionally, the FCC announced in June it will set aside up to 30 MHz of spectrum for smaller players in the auction. The reserve, however, is contingent both on whether the auction revenue exceeds broadcaster demands and on interest from bidders.
Want more auction details? Check out Incentive Auction 101: A Spectrum Stampede Survivor’s Guide
Filed Under: Telecommunications (Spectrum)