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FCC Continues to Roll Sevens in 28 GHz Auction

If FCC auction officials believe in lucky numbers, seven sounds like it could be theirs.

In the seventh round of the FCC's auction of 28 GHz spectrum, the bid total rose to $77,542,190, $7,965,750 (11.45%) over the previous round's total.

In round seven there were 2,138 provisionally winning bids (PWBs), which means licenses that have now been bid on, up from 2,121 PWBs the round before.

Four bids totaling a little over $2 million were withdrawn in the round, all in Pennsylvania.

As of this latest round, 934 license have yet to be bed on or have been withdrawn.

The FCC launched the auction Wednesday (Nov. 15) with two, two-hour rounds. Bidding is now being conducted in three, one-hour rounds until further notice, which is a way to goose the bidding, with another 5G spectrum auction scheduled to start after this one closes.

Starting tomorrow (Nov. 20), the bidding will move to four, one-hour, rounds per day, but with no bidding Nov. 21-24 (Wednesday-Friday) for the long Thanksgiving pre-weekend.

The FCC does not identify who is bidding for which licenses, only the amount bid and the new bid amount, if any, as the auction continues to tick up.

The FCC concedes it has never pushed so much spectrum into the market at one time before (two 5G auctions in a row starting with the 28 GHZ Wednesday [Nov. 14] and the 24 GHz auction immediately thereafter, plus three spectrum auctions slated for next year) with a total of almost 5 GHz of spectrum, or more than all the current carriers have combined. That could mean lower prices given the law of supply and demand, though wireless carriers have repeatedly said they need lots more spectrum for the upcoming internet of everything. The point is to get the spectrum out there "fast," say FCC officials.

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, which has larger license sizes.