Bidding Picks Up in FCC's 28 GHz Auction

With the FCC's 28 GHz auction wrapping up its last day of three-a-day rounds of bidding Monday (Nov. 19), the bidding total has now topped $103 million.

The round-10 total was $103,838,810, up 9.64% over round nine's $94,708,820 total, which was itself up 10.89% from round eight's $85,410,000.

The FCC is auctioning over 3,000 county-sized licenses in the band, preferably to wireless companies rolling out 5G service. The licenses are primarily in rural areas.

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The pace picked up a bit between rounds nine and 10. There were only 2 more provisionally winning bids (PWBs) in round nine over round eight. But there were 59 more provisionally winning bids in round 10. Those are bids that would win if the auction closed immediately.

The FCC set a relatively low reserve price for the spectrum to try and get it into the market ASAP, FCC officials said.

The auction launched Nov. 15 and will be followed by a second auction of spectrum for 5G (of 24 GHz spectrum). 

Combining the two auctions, the FCC is trying to free up more spectrum for wireless broadband than the current carriers use combined. That is because the commission is looking toward an internet of everything future, as well as trying to boost broadband and speeds.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.