YOU ARE AT:Archived ArticlesAUCTION UPDATE: C-BLOCK AUCTION BIDS TOP $4B, WHILE SMR AUCTION NEARS END

AUCTION UPDATE: C-BLOCK AUCTION BIDS TOP $4B, WHILE SMR AUCTION NEARS END

WASHINGTON-After more than 30 rounds of bidding, it looks like the current auction of 900 MHz specialized mobile radio spectrum may be entering the home stretch. Because of competitive reasons, however, the players aren’t talking.

Net revenues excluding withdrawal payments at the end of Round 28 reached $83.4 million. The number of new bids and the number of new high bids posted after each round coupled with changes in net revenues of less than one percent are symptoms of a possible topping out as far as auction participants are concerned.

The top five most active bidders-Paging Network of America Inc., FCI 900 Inc. (Nextel Communications Inc.), Geotek Communications Inc., Motorola SMR Inc. and Fleet Talk Inc.-have not changed since the early rounds. Ram Mobile Data USA L.P., A&B Electronics Inc. (Pittencrieff Communications Inc.) and Eastern Communications continue to battle it out for additional space in their market areas, with Eastern pursuing the New York City market, Ram going after second-tier markets in the north and southeast and A&B Electronics concentrating on several southwestern venues.

On the broadband personal communications services side, the C-block auctions show no solid signs of slowing down, although there has been some braking during the last week. No bidding mistakes have been registered since Round 11, and net revenues registered $4.48 billion at the close of Round 17.

According to Chantilly, Va..-based BIA Consulting Inc., which has been analyzing the auctions round by round, the 10 most active C-block markets this week were Salt Lake City-Ogden, Utah, San Antonio, Texas, San Diego, Denver, Kansas City, Sacramento, Calif., Seattle-Tacoma, Wash., Norfolk-Virginia Beach-Newport News-Hampton, Va., Indianapolis and Augusta, Ga. These markets have brought in gross revenues of $3 billion so far, with an average price per pop of $39.44.

The total gross dollar value of bids placed during Rounds 1-17 stands at $5.97 billion, with an average price per pop of $22.47.

BIA analysts also have been examining the relationship between past bids on A- and B-block major trading areas, and the ongoing bidding on their component C-block basic trading areas. In some markets, the current high bids on C-block frequencies has surpassed the combined averages of the winning bids submitted during last year’s A- and B-block auctions for the same market by more than 1,000 percent. On the other hand, there are markets in which the average combined A-and B-block bids exceed the current high bids for their component BTAs.

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