YOU ARE AT:Archived ArticlesAGENCY TRIES TO SPEED UP BIDDING IN PCS AUCTION

AGENCY TRIES TO SPEED UP BIDDING IN PCS AUCTION

WASHINGTON-The Federal Communications Commission this week took additional steps to help hasten the end of the D-, E-and F-block personal communications services auction that began Aug. 26 and that has spanned 135 rounds so far.

As of Round 115, which began Nov. 18, the number of rounds per day increased from three to four. During Round 127 on Nov. 20, the set bidding increment changed from a tiered methodology to what the Auction Division has characterized as a flat rate of the greater of 10 percent of the standing high bid and 1 cent per bidding unit. According to a division spokeswoman, “The bid-increment change was made, in part, to help licenses reach their final value faster and deter `gaming’ of our tiered bid-increment system. Commission analysts believe this will speed the close of the auction.”

In explaining the occurrence of `gaming’ in the current auction, the commission noted that bidders could “park” their eligibility in markets in which they had no interest and then wait for the bidding increment to drop when no new bids were made on that market. “Changing to a non-tiered bid increment should help eliminate this incentive,” the spokeswoman said.

As of Round 131, net revenues rose to nearly $2.28 billion, with new bids and new high bids standing about even at 41 and 40. D-block players accounted for 39.3 percent of the revenues, E-block players for 38.4 percent and F-block entrepreneurs for 22.3 percent.

Some higher prices for F-block markets began to appear during the last week, with Dallas moving up to $16 million, Miami to $27.7 million (up from $16.4 million in Round 112), Atlanta to $12.9 million, Cleveland to $3.7 million, Minneapolis to $1 million (up from $430,511) and Phoenix to $17 million (up from $7.9 million). Miami definitely was the up-and-comer in the Top 20 basic trading areas, with all three markets rising substantially; the D block moved from $9.5 million to $16 million and the E block from $8 million to $15.7 million.

The big drop of the week affected the St. Louis D block, at least temporarily. The market dropped from $2.4 million in Round 112 to zero in Round 131. The reason: OPSCE-Galloway Consortium, which includes C-block winner Omnipoint Communications Inc., withdrew its high bid during that round, but then replaced it immediately in Round 132 with a bid of $2.22 million. The consortium declined to discuss its bidding strategy prior to the close of the auction.

This week’s bidding will end Wednesday with Round 147 in observance of the Thanksgiving Day holiday; the auction will begin again Dec. 2.

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