The $90bn prize fight
Why American telecoms firms are splurging on 5G spectrum
为什么美国电信公司在 5G 频谱上大肆挥霍
An auction of mobile frequencies is turning a blockbuster
Jan 2nd 2021 | NEW YORK
IT MAY BE the most hyped technology since blockchain. But even sophisticated telecoms giants are now placing huge bets on 5G. In early December American regulators started the process of auctioning off radio-frequency bands needed to roll out superfast fifth-generation mobile networks. Industry experts had expected bids to come in at $25bn-30bn between them, less than the $45bn fetched in the last big 4G spectrum sale in 2015—but a tidy sum nonetheless.
5G 可能是自区块链以来最被炒作的技术。但是，即使是经验丰富的电信巨头也将巨大的赌注押在 5G 上。12月初，美国监管机构开始拍卖无线电频段，以推出超快的第五代移动网络。业内专家曾预计，两家公司的出价将在250亿至300亿美元之间，比2015年 4G 频谱的450亿美元要少，但仍是一笔不小的数目。
In fact, when the first part of the auction was concluded on December 23rd, the bids had reached a staggering $70bn. The winners will be on the hook for “clearing costs” of another $13bn-15bn, in part to compensate satellite firms for giving up some of their spectrum that is particularly well-suited for 5G. The auction will resume on January 4th. By the time it ends, the proceeds may exceed $90bn.
At first blush, this seems like a classic case of overbidding by zealous telecoms firms chasing a shiny new technology. It could leave AT&T and Verizon, America’s mobile-telephony giants, saddled with huge debts. New Street Research, a firm of analysts, reckons that the industry’s overall debt will be between $45bn and $60bn higher than previously forecast.
乍一看，这似乎是热心的电信公司竞相追求闪亮新技术的经典案例。这可能会使 AT＆T 和美国的移动电话巨头 Verizon 背上沉重的债务。一家分析公司 New Street Research 估计，该行业的整体债务将比先前的预测高出450亿至600亿美元。
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