VCs Bid on Wireless Spectrum

The FCC has received bids well in excess of the $10 billion minimum it set for its recent 700-megahertz spectrum auction, from the usual suspects of AT&T, Cox, EchoStar, Google, Qualcomm and Verizon (maybe Google isn’t a usual suspect, but it was widely expected to participate). Those bidders are probably all bidding in the hundreds of millions – if not billions – but Matt Marshall of VentureBeat noticed a smaller player with a VC calling card.

It’s called Triad 700, and has raised just over $90 million in private equity funding from Battery Ventures, Highland Capital Partners, Ignition Partners and M/C Venture Partners. The next question, of course, is who are the individuals behind Triad 700?

peHUB has learned that principals are Barry Lewis, Craig Viehweg and John Mason, who once were part of the executive team at rural operator Triad Cellular. Since then, the three have participated in nine spectrum auctions – most of which were backed by venture capital funds. For example, they worked Triad AWS in 2006 to bid in the FCC’s Auction 66 Advanced Wireless Services auction. That effort secured around $100 million in capital commitments from Columbia Capital and M/C Venture.

There have been some printed rumors that former Orange chief executive Sanjiv Ahuja is involved with Triad, but Lewis says that information is incorrect.