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FCC's 600MHz Auction Flops AgainFCC's 600MHz Auction Flops Again

FCC pulls auction after just a round of bidding.

Dan Jones

December 6, 2016

2 Min Read
FCC's 600MHz Auction Flops Again

The FCC has stopped the bidding process for the 600Mhz auction of broadcast spectrum for mobile usage after just one round.

A clearing price of $40.3 billion was set for 108MHz of the low-band spectrum, which would deliver about 80MHz of usable bandwidth for mobile broadband applications. Bidders including AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Wireless , however, only put up $19.7 billion in initial bids and the FCC -- once again -- halted the auction.

This means that the ball is back with terrestrial broadcasters running 600MHz UHF TV channels. After three previous tries this year, the FCC will hold another "reverse auction" to enable multiple brodcasters to set how much spectrum they want to give up and how much they want for it.

The process, which started on March 29 of this year, will go on into 2017. By then, the FCC will likely see a changing of the guard -- including Chairman Tom Wheeler -- as the Trump administration sweeps in. (See Trump Win Will Reshape FCC .)

Wheeler has talked of the possibility of the 600MHz band being used for low-band applications for 5G in the US. It seems unlikely, however, that the bandwidth will even be available for use as early 5G mobile networks arrive in 2020.

This is in part because the FCC says that it will take 39 months to get broadcasters off the spectrum.

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— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Dan Jones

Mobile Editor

Dan is to hats what Will.I.Am is to ridiculous eyewear. Fedora, trilby, tam-o-shanter -- all have graced the Jones pate during his career as the go-to purveyor of mobile essentials.

But hey, Dan is so much more than 4G maps and state-of-the-art headgear. Before joining the Light Reading team in 2002 he was an award-winning cult hit on Broadway (with four 'Toni' awards, two 'Emma' gongs and a 'Brian' to his name) with his one-man show, "Dan Sings the Show Tunes."

His perfectly crafted blogs, falling under the "Jonestown" banner, have been compared to the works of Chekhov. But only by Dan.

He lives in Brooklyn with cats.

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