FCC Auctions Hit $19B
The most desirable "beachfront" spectrum -- an eight-license, nationwide C band offering -- has now raised more in bids for the individual licenses than as a package, even though earlier bidding suggested it would sell as a package. An applicant that wants the continental C package will need to put up a bid of nearly $5 billion to secure as a whole it next round.
As the bidding runs to 40 rounds, the intensity is ratcheting down. Bidders, however, continue to fill out capacity requirements by adding on smaller licenses, generally in the E band.
The pattern of bidding on the E licenses does suggest local and national carriers bidding for extra capacity. Examples include the continued small bids on the Burlington, Vt., E band and the $21 million for the Boston-Worchester E band. The FCC, however, won't reveal the names of the bidders until after the auction is closed.
Even the FCC had been worried that the state of the economy could have an affect on the auction, with chairman Kevin Martin suggesting as much before the auctions started. This has turned out be far from the case, however. (See The 700 MHz Race .)
The only real disappointment for the FCC is the failure of the nationwide D block, which was intended for public safety applications, to take off. This hasn't shifted since an original bid of $472 million for the band.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung