Cox, Frontier Won't Bid in 24GHz 5G Auction

Both are among service providers that applied for Auction 102 but did not qualify to bid, according to the FCC.

Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor

February 28, 2019

2 Min Read
Cox, Frontier Won't Bid in 24GHz 5G Auction

The US cable industry was a near no-show for the 28GHz auction, and appears to be a complete no-show for the FCC's coming auction for 24GHz millimeter wave spectrum.

According to the FCC, Cox Communications applied to bid in the 28GHz auction, also known as Auction 102, but was deemed to be "non-qualified." Among major US telecommunications companies, Frontier Communications also applied for Auction 102 but did not qualify to bid.

Frontier presented a complete application for Auction 102 (FCC Form 175), but couldn't comment further due to the FCC's quiet period regulations. Cox was in the same boat, confirming it would not bid in the 24GHz spectrum auction, but couldn't comment further because of FCC auction rules.

The FCC wasn't explicit as to why any of the Auction 102 applicants, which also included Canby Telephone/DirectLink, Inland Cellular and Spectrum Financial Partners, didn't qualify to bid. Not submitting sufficient upfront payment by the FCC deadline (by 6 p.m. ET on February 19, in the case of Auction 102) is one possible reason. Some may have not submitted those payments because they ultimately decided to not move forward with the bidding process. Submitting an incomplete application or one with errors is another reason for possible non-qualification.

Meanwhile, some other well-known names did qualify to bid for Auction 102, including AT&T, T-Mobile, Windstream and Starry, the Boston-based fixed wireless broadband startup. Verizon appears to have steered clear. A total of 38 applicants qualified for Auction 102, and 22 applications were deemed non-qualified. (See Broadband Incumbents Should Be 'a Little Bit Nervous' About Starry – Analyst .)

Set to begin on March 14, Auction 102 will offer licenses in the 24.25GHz-24.45GHz and 24.75GHz-25.25GHz band.

Auction 102 is expected to pull in bigger bucks than Auction 101/28GHz, which drew about $702.57 million in provisionally winning bids and was relatively limited with respect to major markets covered, as Verizon already owned a lot of 28GHz spectrum. Cox, T-Mobile, AT&T, US Cellular, Frontier and Windstream were among the bidders in Auction 101.

The 24GHz spectrum auction could pull down between $2.4 billion and $5.6 billion in winning bids, Brian Goemmer, founder of AllNet Insights & Analytics, told Light Reading last month, noting that this band presents "virtually nationwide" coverage.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Jeff Baumgartner

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Jeff Baumgartner is a Senior Editor for Light Reading and is responsible for the day-to-day news coverage and analysis of the cable and video sectors. Follow him on X and LinkedIn.

Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.

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