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AWS-3 on Holiday Pause

The FCC's AWS-3 auction wrapped up its last round (round 246) early on Friday for the long weekend (Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday) with only $103,000 in new bids (6 of them). The auction will begin again on Jan. 20 with new rules to try and hurry the auction along to a close.

The current total is $44,703,764,100. Given that the FCC is under a statutory obligation to get the licenses out, and will still have a number of steps to go through—collecting the money, letting the public comment—before that, it is looking to wrap up the auction, which has blown past all pre-auction estimates to easily be the most successful auction—in terms of provisional bid totals—in the two-plus decades since the FCC starting auctioning spectrum.

Beginning Tuesday, in order to remain in the bidding, bidders will have to "be active on 100% of their bidding eligibility," up from 98% in recent rounds. Absent that the FCC will automatically apply a waiver, if the bidder still has one. If not, it may be out of the bidding.

The FCC is auctioning 65 MHz of spectrum, a combination of spectrum it already had with some reclaimed from federal users and broadcasters, who agreed to share spectrum digs.