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Waiting for the Next Grenade in the Wireless Wars

The federal government’s just-concluded auction of wireless spectrum, fetching much higher prices than anticipated, gave some indications about how the telecommunications industry will evolve in coming years. But big questions remain over which companies will end up challenging the incumbents as well as which technologies will win out.

It’s clear that Dish Network will play a big role, most likely in partnership with someone else. Still uncertain is what Google will do, including whether it might partner with Dish, something the two have discussed in the past.

Google didn’t bid in the auction, although Milo Medin, a Google executive who until last fall ran Google Fiber, studied a possible bid, say people inside and outside of Google who were briefed on the situation.

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This new technology will give carriers a chance to add more cellular capacity when necessary. But it will add to pressure on bandwidth available to Wi-Fi users.

—Jessica E. Lessin and Amir Efrati contributed to this article.

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“If you want to be competitive in this industry, you are going to need spectrum,” said Mr. Ergen.