The FCC's C-Band auction pushed past $5 billion in bids Monday (Dec. 14) to $5,449,181,500 after 13 rounds, up almost a half-billion dollars from $4,954,406,500 in round 12 Friday afternoon.
The auction, the largest of midband spectrum, will continue with four, one-hour rounds per day through at least Wednesday (Dec. 16) according to the FCC.
Bidding in Auction 107 (as the C-Band auction is designated) began Dec. 8. The auction rules specify upfront minimum opening bid amounts as well as bidding credit caps for rural service providers and small businesses.
Estimates for the value of the mid-band "sweet spot" 5G spectrum range from $25 billion-$30 billion in one reckoning to as much as $70 billion-plus.
The is the auction of 280 MHz of spectrum in the 3.7-3.98 GHz band for terrestrial 5G. It is forcing the relocation of satellite operations to the upper portion of the band. Those operations include the satellite delivery of cable and broadcast programming from networks to stations and systems, and the relay of video from the field to the studio.
Satellite operators are getting a payout for moving early, while cable operators and broadcasters are getting their repack moving expenses covered. The first phase of the repack is scheduled to conclude by December 2021.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said Monday in a podcast for 5G Action Now that he thought the bidding was going "very well" and he thought when it was all said and done, which could be after he exits Jan. 20, it would be one of the FCC's most significant efforts to speed 5G.
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