While it took more than a week for the FCC's C-Band auction to top $10 billion in gross proceeds Dec. 16, it took it only until the last round a day later to top $20 billion.
Estimates for the value of the spectrum have ranged from a low of $25 billion to as high as $70 billion-plus.
As of round 28--the last round Thursday (Dec. 17) the total was $21,447,601,360, up almost $2 billion from round 27 ($19,686,102,960).
FCC chairman Ajit Pai predicted earlier in the week that the auction would be one of the FCC's most significant steps in advancing 5G.
It freed up 280 MHz of the midband, C-band, spectrum for auction. They are flexible-use licenses, so the FCC does not say they have to be used for 5G, but that is what they will almost certainly be used for.
The FCC voted last February to free up 300 MHz of the C-Band for 5G, 280 of that to be auctioned and 20 MHz to be used as a guard band between wireless users and the incumbent satellite operators that will use the remaining 200 MHz to continue to deliver network programming to broadcaster and cable operator (and other) clients.
Bidders include AT&T, Cellco Partnership, Cox, T-Mobile, and United States Cellular.
Starting Friday (Dec. 18), the FCC moved to more and shorter rounds to try to speed the auction.
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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.