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AWS-3 Auction Edges Toward $44 Billion

At day's end on Monday (Dec. 15), the FCC's AWS-3 spectrum auction had drawn a total of $43,891,553,200 in provisional bids since its launch Nov. 13.

The last round of the day, No. 97, drew $53,332,000 in new bids (66 of them) on 1,612 licenses (two licenses have no bids).

That was up from only $5,815,700 on 44 bids for the previous round, so the auction wind-down continues on a peripatetic course.

The auction will not be over until there are no bids or waivers in a round. The reserve price has long since been met--more than quadrupled, in fact--so it is already a success, and arguably a very big one since pre-auction estimates were roughly in the $12 billion-$16 billion range.

The AWS-3 auction is for 65 MHz of spectrum being bid on by wireless companies including AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. Proceeds will pay for FirstNet, the interoperable first responder network, E911 and R&D, as well as for deficit reduction.

The success of this auction means the FCC is under less pressure to raise money from the broadcast incentive auction to pay for those things, though it is still under pressure from wireless companies to reclaim as much spectrum as possible to for auction.