FCC 28 GHz Auction Bids Up Same Licenses

The FCC's 28 GHz auction wrapped up round 74 Monday (Dec. 17) with its sixth straight round with no new licenses drawing bids, the longest such stretch since the auction began Nov. 14.

Currently 2,939 licenses have provisional winning bids, with 133 licenses without bids. A total of $688,674,920 has been bid on those 2,939 licenses, up $301,100 from the previous round.

If the auction has not closed by Friday (Dec. 21) it will take a hiatus until Thursday, Jan. 3.

All the licenses don't have to draw bids for it to close. It has long ago surpassed the aggregate minimum bid total, which was only about $40 million. 

The FCC is looking for wireless carriers to boost their spectrum holdings via the auction as they prepare to roll out 5G service at speeds that should make wireless an undisputed full-fledged competitor to wired broadband.

There are 40 qualified bidders competing for the 28 GHz spectrum, including Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, but none of the major cable operators eyeing wireless plays--though Cox is signed up for the 24 GHz auction of spectrum for 5G, which has larger license
sizes and which will begin as soon as the 28 GHz auction ends.

The FCC concedes it has never pushed so much spectrum into the market at one time before, but the point is to get the spectrum out there "fast" given that wireless carriers have been talking up the need for speed and bandwidth for an internet of everything, 5G world.

John Eggerton

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.