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600MHz auction continues to underwhelm as Stage Three draws to a close

6 Dec 2016

Stage Three of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) 600MHz Broadcast Television Spectrum Incentive Auction (‘Auction 1002’) came to an abrupt end yesterday (5 December) after a single round of bidding. In total, bidders offered USD19.676 billion for TV broadcasters’ airwaves in the so-called ‘Forward Auction’, far short of the USD40.313 billion ‘clearing cost’ that was necessary to bring the proceedings to a definitive end. The total financial commitment at the end of Stage Three actually represents a decrease from Stage Two (see below), with the FCC reducing the quantity of spectrum on offer via a parallel ‘Reverse Auction’ with the country’s broadcasters.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Stage Two of Auction 1002 also finished abruptly in October, after a solitary round of bidding. Then, bidders offered a total of USD21.520 billion for TV broadcasters’ airwaves in the second ‘Forward Auction’, far short of the USD54.586 billion ‘clearing cost’ that had been established at the time.

A total of 62 companies registered to participate in the process, including mobile giants Verizon Wireless (bidding as Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless), AT&T Mobility (AT&T Spectrum Holdings) and T-Mobile US, while Sprint Corp opted to sit out the process. In addition, cable giant Comcast is bidding under the CC Wireless name, while satellite TV firm DISH Network is participating as Wireless.

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