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FCC 24 GHz Auction Bids Inch Up

The FCC's 24 GHz auction of high-band spectrum for 5G has been ticking up slowly under the new, five, half-hour rounds-per-day regime.

After round 60, the total was $1,880,381,092, which is an increase of only a little over $40 million, or about $4.5 million per round, in the past nine rounds.

Bids in the top two markets, New York and L.A., remain at $41,113,000 and $31,635,000, respectively, where they have been since at least round 27.

The FCC on April 4 increased the bidding from three, one-hour rounds, per day to five, half-hour rounds, to speed the auction.

The FCC is auctioning the spectrum to free up more bandwidth for 5G wireless broadband, to help close the rural digital divide, and to make wireless a stronger competitor to wired broadband.

The millimeter-wave (high-band) auction opened March 14 and is being held in two phases. Initial bidding (clock phase) is on generic spectrum, with a follow-on auction (assignment phase) among the winners for specific frequencies.

Related: FCC Launches Latest 5G Auction

The clock auction means the FCC continues to raise prices automatically after each round, so long as there is more demand than supply, until there are not bidders left, high bidder at that point wins.

The initial license periods are not to exceed 10 years. There are also build-out requirements—so the spectrum can't be warehoused but must be used as advertised. Bidding credits were available for rural service, small businesses and tribal lands, capped at $25 million.

The 24 GHz spectrum is divided into a lower and higher portion, the lower (24.25 – 24.45 GHz and 24.75 – 25.25 GHz) being licenses as two, 100-MHz blocks and the upper (24.75 – 25.25 GHz) licenses as five, 100 MHz blocks.