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Briefs (right)

Wireless Providers Poised
To Win Spectrum Licenses

By Ken Belson and Matt Richtel
THE NEW YORK TIMES

When the government’s multibillion-dollar auction of radio spectrum licenses began two weeks ago, it looked as if newcomers might get the chance to buy their way into the mobile phone business, leading to more choices for consumers.

But now the country’s biggest cellular providers appear poised to win many of the 1,122 licenses up for auction, allowing them to expand their reach and reducing the chance that a new entrant might bring down prices.

At the same time, cable companies like Time Warner and Comcast have teamed up with Sprint Nextel to bid on chunks of spectrum to expand their limited presence in the wireless business. Analysts said the cable companies were likely to use the spectrum to offer wireless Web access, not necessarily phone service.

Of the $13.3 billion in bids registered thus far, $2.2 billion has come from the cable providers, bidding together in a consortium with Sprint, the third-largest cellular carrier. But about 60 percent of the total bids have come from Cingular, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile, the first-, second- and fourth-largest cell phone companies. T-Mobile has bid nearly $4 billion, mostly for licenses in major metropolitan areas, while Cingular and Verizon have sought licenses that cover broader regions.

In throwing their financial weight around, the cell phone companies may have scared off DirecTV and EchoStar, the two largest satellite television providers, which were expected to make a charge into the wireless arena but withdrew from the auction last week.

Rivals Say Data Contradicts
Forbes Web Site Claims

By Peter Edmonston
THE NEW YORK TIMES

If Forbes.com was looking to create some Internet buzz last week, it succeeded.

The Web site published an article called “Don’t Marry Career Women,” which suggested that if a man did, he was more likely to be cheated on, get divorced and have a dirty house.

Responses on the Web were swift, with many blogs and sites like Salon.com attacking the posting as a sexist throwback. Forbes.com temporarily withdrew the article and later paired it with an opposing view titled “Don’t Marry A Lazy Man.”

Forbes.com, the online sibling of Forbes magazine and part of Forbes Inc., is more accustomed to delivering the news than being the news. And despite last week’s dust-up, it is adept at it. Even as Forbes magazine has declined in advertising in the last few years, Forbes.com has thrived.

Its own ads proclaim that “more people get their business news from Forbes.com than any other source in the world,” saying that its sites drew about 15 million unique visitors in a single month earlier this year. It was a well-heeled crowd, according to Forbes.com, which says that the average household income of its users is $149,601.

Forbes’ Web prowess is a big reason Elevation Partners, a private equity firm that counts Bono of U2 as a managing director, agreed on Aug. 4 to buy a minority stake in Forbes’s publishing business. “Forbes has already won the first round” in the battle for Internet supremacy, an Elevation founder, Roger McNamee, said then.