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Round 24: AWS-3 Tops $31 Billion

Bidding had slacked off slightly in round 24 of the FCC's AWS-3 auction of 65 MHz of spectrum for wireless broadband—AT&T and Veizon are the largest bidders for the spectrum—but the bidding total increased by more than a billion to $31,023,844,700 on 549 bids.

One of the licenses for New York—there are five licenses up for bid in the market—continued to hold the top spot at a bid of $1.8 billion.

The auction has met both of its reserve prices, and has now brought in more than double some pre-auction estimates. That could raise the expectations, and prices, for the broadcast incentive auction, which will likely be for even more spectrum, and of a type even more attractive for wireless broadband given its propagation characteristics.

The AWS-3 auction's success has also reduced the financial pressure on the incentive auction, since some of the things that auction would have had to pay for, like the FirstNet network ($7 billion) have already been covered by AWS-3.

The auction will continue until there are no more bids or waivers.

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.