The Federal Communications Commission (FCC’s) ‘Auction 97’ spectrum sale resumed yesterday, RCR Wireless reports, with potential winning bids currently standing at a total of USD44.5 billion. The online journal notes that the auction eased into the Christmas break amid modest bidding activity, with fewer than 20 new bids placed during the last two rounds. The FCC is currently conducting eight rounds of bidding per day, each lasting 20 minutes. However, that pace is scheduled to increase when the watchdog switches to ten 15-minute rounds from today.
Activity is likely to remain concentrated in second- and third-tier markets, with the priciest concessions – J-block licences New York City (USD2.7 billion) and Los Angeles (USD2.1 billion) – chiefly attracting interest in the early stages of the auction.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, the FCC is auctioning off 880 licences for the larger ‘Economic Area’ franchises alongside 734 concessions for smaller ‘Cellular Market Area’ franchises. AWS-3 licences under the hammer include paired spectrum in the 1755MHz-1780MHz (uplink) and 2155MHz-2180MHz (downlink) bands, and unpaired licences in the 1695MHz-1710MHz range. The identities of the bidders themselves will be disclosed when the auction process concludes later this month.