FCC 3.45-GHz Auction Tops $21 Billion

A gavel on top of a stack of money
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Federal Communications Commission's 3.45-GHz 5G spectrum auction has pushed past $21 billion as competition continues for licenses in the smaller markets.

The top two markets in terms of aggregate bids are, not surprisingly, Los Angeles and New York. Bidding for each has about topped out, or at least has leveled off, at a little under one-quarter of a billion dollars — the most recent bid price (after round 74) for L.A. was $239,780,000 and for New York City, $234,163,000.

The FCC has not increased the number of rounds from the current five per day, though it could take that action of others to goose the auction.

The FCC is auctioning 4,060 flexible-use licenses that it expects to be used for 5G, though they can be used for virtually any fixed or mobile broadband service. Licenses are renewable for no more than 15 years. There is a 40-MHz limit on how much any one bidder can acquire in a single area.

The Department of Defense identified the 100 MHz of spectrum it was willing to give up or share as long as its operations — radar, for example — are protected from interference.

The auction launched Oct. 5 under a congressional mandate to auction the spectrum by year's end.

Earlier this week the auction became the third highest in aggregate gross bids in FCC history.

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.