Wireless carriers bid $19 billion in the FCC’s wireless spectrum auction, including $16 billion from the two biggest, AT&T and Verizon Wireless. But that’s just the beginning: To turn that spectrum into something they can sell, the carriers will have to fork over billions more to equipment makers like Motorola (MOT), Alcatel-Lucent (ALU), Nortel (NT), Ericsson (ERIC), and Nokia’s (NOK) joint venture with Siemens.
Pacific Crest Securities analyst Steve Clement estimates that Verizon Wireless, a joint venture of Verizon (VZ) and Vodafone (VOD), may spend about $5.7 billion on a network using the new spectrum, and AT&T (T) could spend about $3.5 billion, Reuters reports.
Those sales — which won’t happen for a few years — are presumably priced into the companies’ shares. And while telecom equipment stocks saw a bump up on Thursday, they’re still in the gutter. Alcatel-Lucent closed Thursday 64% below its 52-week high, Ericsson down 59% from its 52-week high, and Nortel down 77% from its 52-week high.