FCC 28 GHz Spectrum Auction Moves to Stage Three

The FCC will move the 28 GHz auction to stage three beginning Monday (Jan. 14).

It will stay with the same number of rounds per day--six--and the same duration--a half-hour--but instead of bidders having to bid on 95% of the licenses for which it is eligible, they must now bid on 100% of those licenses. Unless the bidder has a waiver it can use, if it does not meet the 100% activity level, its eligibility will be permanently reduced.

Related: FCC Spectrum Auction Picks Up Some Steam

As of round 123, the total aggregate provisionally winning bids (PWBs) totaled $695,103,710 for 2,939 licenses, with the FCC still retaining 133 licenses that had no PWBs.

There were a total of 13 new bids in the round, or an additional $112,700 bid.

While much of the FCC is shuttered due to the government shutdown, the auction will continue since it is funded through auction proceeds rather than the appropriation currently held up by the battle between the President and Congress over border security and a wall/barrier/fence.

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.

The FCC concedes it has never pushed so much spectrum into the market at one time before, which could mean those lower prices, 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.