Mobile networks may improve as AT&T, Verizon spend big at airwaves auction

IndustriesAssociated Press

Consumers may see improved networks after AT&T and Verizon, the two largest U.S. wireless companies, spent billions in the government's latest airwaves auction.

The new spectrum will allow wireless companies to offer more capacity for mobile data services, helping ease congested networks.

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The auction, which ended Thursday, will raise $41.3 billion for the U.S. Treasury and various federal programs.

AT&T Inc. bid $18.2 billion and Verizon Wireless $10.4 billion. T-Mobile US Inc. had $1.77 billion in winning bids.

Sprint Corp. did not participate.

Beyond the national carriers, Dish Network Corp. won $10 billion worth of spectrum through two companies it invested in. Dish has ambitions to offer wireless broadband service.

To get the spectrum, companies must make their payments by March 2.