Among the perhaps odder implications of the recent U.S. AWS-3 spectrum auction is the potential impact on spectrum asset valuation for a number of firms. Consider Dish Network, Sprint and T-Mobile US, all of which arguably are worth more for their spectrum holdings than their operating businesses.
Spectrum represents perhaps 80 percent of Dish Network’s equity value, even if that spectrum does not generate any revenue at all for Dish, at the moment, and all revenue comes from its satellite video entertainment business.
Lance Vitanza, a managing director at CRT Capital Group LLC, agrees that the likely value of Dish’s spectrum, which he estimates at $45 billion, is higher than the market value (roughly $36 billion) or the enterprise value of $40 billion of the entire company.
Then consider Sprint. About $17.5 billion is the value attributed only to some excess 2.5-GHz spectrum Sprint might sell.
Keep in mind that in September 2014, Sprint’s equity value was about $22.5 billion. In other words, Sprint could now be valued at less than its spectrum holdings.
Bloomberg Intelligence, in fact, estimate the total value of Sprint’s 2.5-GHz spectrum alone at $115.1, about 2.4 times Sprint’s enterprise value of $48 billion.
In fact, some argue that T-Mobile US spectrum accounts for more than 100 percent of its total market value.
Those are anomalies, for certain.