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AWS-3 Ends Day Just Short of $40B

The FCC's AWS-3 spectrum auction continued to wind down Tuesday, with only $124,830,500 in new bids (102 of them). The total in provisional bids was knocking on the door of $40 billion at $39,866,412,800.

After 44 rounds, the auction has been dubbed a big success by House Republicans who helped create it. It has also almost quadrupled the reserve price of $10.587, more than doubled pre-auction estimates of the final take, and paid for FirstNet, the first responder network, taking financial pressure off the broadcast incentive auction scheduled for 2016.

The auction continues until there are no more bids or waivers in any single round. The bid totals and dollar totals have been on a general decline over the past few days following rounds where bids increased by a billion dollars or more per.

There are bids on 1,599 of the 1,614 licenses (65 MHz total) up for auction. The success of the auction could lead to higher prices in the broadcast incentive auction, or could be a signal that wireless carriers may not get access to that broadcast spectrum for a while, raising the value of spectrum they can get now. The incentive auction has been pushed back to 2016, and broadcasters have challenged various elements of the auction framework in court, and at the FCC.