The results are in: T-Mobile dominates FCC's 2.5GHz auction
T-Mobile walked away with the vast majority of the 2.5GHz spectrum licenses up for grabs in the FCC's recent Auction 108.
Indeed, the operator spent $304 million in the auction, and it won 90% of all the licenses sold in the auction, or 7,156 of the 7,872 total licenses that received winning bids. The auction offered up a total of 8,017 licenses in mostly rural locations around the country, but not all of those licenses received winning bids.
"With most of the available spectrum in the 2.5GHz band located in rural areas, this auction provides vital spectrum resources to support wireless services in rural communities," according to the FCC.
The results are not surprising. T-Mobile was widely expected to bid heavily in the auction, considering it is the only big wireless network operator that uses the 2.5GHz spectrum band. Moreover, other operators like Verizon, AT&T and Dish Network have spent heavily in other FCC spectrum auctions, leaving them with little financial firepower to chase 2.5GHz spectrum.
However, the FCC's 2.5GHz auction generated far less interest among bidders than most analysts had expected. Before the auction started in late July, estimates ranged from $1 billion to $5 billion in total bids. But when the auction ended earlier this week, it generated just $428 million in total bids. Thus, T-Mobile accounted for roughly 71% of all spending in the auction.
Other big spenders in the auction include PTI Pacifica ($18 million); TeleGuam Holding ($17 million); and Evergy Kansas Central ($13 million).
T-Mobile will undoubtedly use its auction winnings to expand the rural growth strategy it laid out in recent years.
This is just the latest batch of spectrum licenses T-Mobile has purchased in recent years for its 5G network. Aside from the vast 2.5GHz holdings it acquired via its $26 billion purchase of Sprint in 2020, T-Mobile also spent around $10 billion in the FCC's recent C-band auction, $3 billion in the FCC's 3.45GHz auction earlier this year and $3.5 billion for 600MHz spectrum licenses from Columbia Capital in a deal announced last month.
- What to expect from America's next (last?) 5G spectrum auction
- 2.5GHz spectrum auction ends with just $428M in bids
- The quiet brilliance of T-Mobile's 5G spectrum strategy
— Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano
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