There had been three, one-hour rounds through Thursday (Dec. 10), but the FCC indicated on its auction dashboard that starting Friday, there would be four, one-hour rounds.
The FCC usually starts adding rounds and shortening the duration to increase bidding activity.
The auction launched Dec. 8 and, after six rounds Thursday morning, the auction had drawn $2,803,698,700 in bids, up from $2,550,171,300 in round five.
Estimates for the value of the mid-band, "sweet spot" 5G spectrum range from $25 billion-$30 billion to as much as $70 billion-plus.
The FCC is auctioning 5,684 flexible-use licenses for spectrum in the 3.7– 3.98 GHz band in the contiguous U.S.
While use is flexible, bidders are expected to use it to expand their 5G footprints. There are 57 qualified bidders.
The C-band is the midband spectrum currently used by satellite operators to deliver network programming to broadcasters and cable operators. The auction is the FCC's latest move to free up spectrum for 5G. The commission is under pressure to free up more midband, 5G "beachfront," spectrum given its recent focus on high-band spectrum.
The auction comprises a clock phase with bidding on generic blocks in each partial economic area (PEA), followed by an assignment phase for specific frequencies.
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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.