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Round 31: Bidding in 28 GHz Auction Remains Strong

The FCC's 28 GHz auction bidding continued strong Friday as the total bidding for round 31--$19,806,530--pushed the aggregate bids for the auction past $400 million ($410,791,730), or ten times the FCC's low minimum opening bid aggregate for the 3,072 available licenses.

More than 80% of those licenses have now drawn provisionally winning bids, with the FCC still retaining 507 licenses that either have not drawn bids or had bids withdrawn.

But while there were only five bids withdrawn over the first 29 rounds, but there were 53 withdrawals in round 30. Even so, the number of provisionally winning bids increased and the round bid total was a solid $18,212,380.

There were no withdrawals in round 31.

The FCC is looking for wireless carriers to boost their spectrum holdings as they prepare to roll out 5G service at speeds that should make wireless an undisputed full-fledged competitor to wired broadband.

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 of spectrum for 5G, which has larger license sizes and which will begin as soon as the 28 GHz auction ends.

The FCC concedes it has never pushed so much spectrum into the market at one time before, which could mean those lower prices, but the point is to get the spectrum out there "fast" given that wireless carriers have been talking up the need for speed and bandwidth for an internet of everything, 5G world.