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Round III: AWS-3 Bid Total Nears $2.5 Billion

The FCC's AWS-3 (advanced wireless services) online auction completed its first three rounds Thursday evening with a total of $2,437,022,000 bid for 1,137 of the 1,614 licenses available.

That was $354,728,900 more than was bid in round two. There were 883 new bids.

The bidding could go on for days, weeks or even months. Bidding continues until nobody bids in a round or exercises a waiver.

In the AWS-3 auction, 65 MHz of spectrum is up for bid, part of a congressional—and White House—mandate to free up wireless spectrum for mobile broadband.

It will be the largest amount of spectrum auctioned since the FCC's 2008 700 MHz auction.

AWS-3 is the second of three spectrum auctions mandated by Congress to fund the FirstNet interoperable broadband network, as well as local first responders, advanced 911, R&D and deficit reduction.

The first auction, of H block spectrum, collected $1.564 billion toward that goal (FirstNet alone is $7 billion), but the FCC is already predicting that the AWS-3 auction will raise most if not all of that $7 billion, putting less pressure on the third auction, the broadcast incentive auction, scheduled for 2016.

If the FCC meets its reserves in the AWS-3 auction, it will more than cover that. The aggregate reserve for the 65 MHz is $10.587 billion—actually it is two separate reserves of $580 million and $10.007 billion.