The FCC's mid-band spectrum auction has just broken $40 billion in bids for the bandwidth this Wednesday morning.
Total bids in the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 's Auction 97 for Advanced Wireless Services-3 (AWS-3) spectrum now stand at $40,136,145,400 after 46 rounds and 13 days of bidding.
The AWS-3 auction includes 65MHz of spectrum in the 1.7GHz and 2.1GHz bands, including 50MHz of paired channels for LTE uplink and downlink. Both the paired and unpaired spectrum have now gone past FCC reserves. (See this FCC page for more details on the spectrum that is up for grabs.)
There are up to 70 entities bidding on the spectrum licenses. The agency still has 15 licenses without preferred winning bids (PWBs). The FCC will reveal exactly which companies have won after the auction but AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH), T-Mobile US Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) are all interested in the spectrum.
One thing is certain about this AWS auction: The winners are going to pay more for the mid-band spectrum than the FCC, analysts, and even operators themselves probably initially expected. The AWS-3 auction has so far pulled in more than double the dollar bids that the last big US spectrum auction did in 2008. (See Verizon & AT&T Win 700 MHz Sweeps, Mid-Band's No Turkey! FCC Auction Tops $38B, and FCC's AWS-3 Auction Tops $14B.)
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading