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FCC's AWS-3 Auction Tops $38 Billion

The FCC's AWS-3 wireless spectrum auction took a break for the Thanksgiving holiday after racking up an impressive bid total.

After its last round (the 37th) on Wednesday (Nov. 26), the auction had generated $38,196,517,300 in provisional bids, including 127 new bids totaling 4367,512,600.

The reserve for the auction was $10.587 billion.

the auction will continue until there are no more bids or waivers in any single round. Verizon and AT&T are predicted to get the lion's share of the spectrum.

While the auction will almost certainly be a record-breaker — the previous top money-getter was the 700 MHz auction at $18.9 billion — it is not officially one just yet.

All the bids are provisional winning bids, as witness the fact that a few of them have been withdrawn and the spectrum back in the FCC's hands, at least until another bid is offered up.

But even after the auction officially closes — no more bids or waivers — the total is not official.

There is a down payment deadline 10 days after the FCC issues a public notice announcing the close of the auction. Bidders already had to make an upfront payment, which combined with the down payment has to total 20% of the winning bid price.

Actually, given the holiday season, the FCC has set that down payment deadline at Jan. 7 or 10 days after auction ends, whichever is later.

Winning bidders also have to file a long-form application for the licenses within 10 days after the end of the auction.

But wait, there's more. The FCC reviews those forms and then issues a public notice saying they are in and reviewed, after which the public can file petitions challenging the auction.