The Advanced Wireless Services-3 (AWS-3) auction closed at $44.89 billion in total bids Thursday. The FCC had set an initial reserve price of $10 billion.
At stake was a swathe of nationwide spectrum suitable for high-speed data wireless services. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) auctioned off 65MHz of spectrum in the 1.7GHz and 2.1GHz bands, including 50MHz of paired channels for LTE uplink and downlink. (See Mid-Band's No Turkey! FCC Auction Tops $38B.)
Seventy qualified bidders entered the ring. The FCC hasn't revealed the winners yet, but they are expected to be announced soon. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Wireless are expected to be among the big winners -- and spenders.
This auction sets the stage for another huge spectrum sell-off expected in 2016: The 600MHz broadcast TV "incentive" auction. The AWS-3 auction blasted past the $19.5 billion earned on the 700MHz auction in 2008. (See Verizon & AT&T Win 700 MHz Sweeps.)
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading