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Economic Commentary

Allocating Publicly Owned Assets: The Case of Personal Communications Services

In late July 1994, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) began an unprecedented sale of the airwaves. Large segments of radio spectrum (frequencies) were sold in a series of auctions, enabling firms to provide new telecommunications services. First to be sold were 4,900 radio licenses for two-way paging services, voice messaging, and data services, allowing receipt of faxes by hand-held devices, for example. Next to be sold are about 2,000 licenses for wireless telephone services known as personal communications services (PCS). PCS systems will transmit calls via radio waves using digital technology. As with current cellular telephone systems, there will be many “base stations,” and calls will be relayed from station to station as the caller moves around.

The views authors express in Economic Commentary are theirs and not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland or the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. The series editor is Tasia Hane. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. This paper and its data are subject to revision; please visit for updates.

Suggested Citation

Gale, Ian. 1995. “Allocating Publicly Owned Assets: The Case of Personal Communications Services.” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Economic Commentary 1/1/1995.