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FCC 3.45-GHz Auction Edges Past $2 Billion

A communications tower in the clouds
(Image credit: John Lund via Getty Images)

After a week of bidding, the Federal Communications Commission's 3.45-Gigahertz midband spectrum auction has nudged past the $2 billion mark in aggregate bids.

The auction still has quite a ways to go before it meets the reserve price of almost $15 billion. Tuesday (Oct. 12) was the first day of four rounds per day — it had been three — as the FCC tries to goose the proceedings.

Also Read: NCTA, Others Tell Congress FCC Has 3.45 GHz Auction Wrong

Cable operators and others have argued that the way the FCC structured the auction — specifically the size of the licenses — would discourage participation and reduce the chance for a successful auction.

After round 14, the auction has drawn $2,077,337,800 in offers for flexible-use licenses, the likely use for which will be 5G. Among the bidders are AT&T, T-Mobile and Cellco Partnership (Verizon Wireless).

The bidders are competing for 4,060 flexible use licenses comprising 100 MHz of spectrum in the 3.45-3.55 GHz band. They can be used for fixed or mobile service. The spectrum is subject to sharing with the band’s incumbent user, the Department of Defense, which identified the 100 MHz it said it could share with commercial operations as long as there were interference protections.

The renewable licenses run initially for 15 years and are subject to performance requirements. There are small business, rural and tribal business credits, capped at $25 million for small business and $10 milion for rural service providers.

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.