The Case For Auctioning Off The Airwaves

It was a license to print money. In 1989, Rural Cellular Development Group in Los Gatos, Calif., won a government lottery for the right to build and operate a cellular-phone system on Cape Cod. Just 73 days after getting its construction permit, before erecting a single antenna, the group "flipped" its license--selling it to Dallas' Southwestern Bell Mobile Systems Inc. for $41 million.

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