Five rounds of Auction 96 bidding were held today, with the total bid for the H-block spectrum reaching nearly $630 million after 17 completed rounds.
Bidders continue to whittle away at the number of Federal Communications Commission-held licenses. All but 40 of the 176 available licenses had received bids as of the close of the final round on Tuesday. Continued competition for the highly desired New York and Los Angeles economic area licenses brought the bids for those EAs to $148.17 million and $90 million, respectively.
High bids for the Chicago EA ($66.7 million), Washington, D.C.-Baltimore EA ($43 million), Boston EA ($36 million) and San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose EA ($22.77 million) emerged during round 16. The current high bids for the Seattle-Tacoma EA ($7.2 million) and Nashville, Tenn. ($2.98 million) were established during the day’s round 15.
The licenses included in Auction 96 include 10 megahertz of spectrum in the upper 1.9 GHz. A total of 23 entities had qualified to participate in the auction process, though none of the nation’s larger wireless carriers are participating. The FCC is not releasing the names of the entities that have placed high bids until the auction process concludes.
H-Block license winners will be required to meet build out requirements of 40% population coverage within four years and 70% coverage within 10 years.
Commissioner Mignon Clyburn noted in a statement before the auction’s start that it “has revived spectrum which not too long ago was forlorn. The 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz bands have been designated for auction for nearly a decade, but were mired in difficult interference disputes.”
FCC staff, she noted, worked during the AWS-4 and H-block preceedings to resolve issues and produce new technical rules to allow the H-block to become more valuable for mobile broadband use.
The FCC has set an aggregate reserve price for the auction of $1.564 billion.
“The high level of interest, and the overall record in this proceeding, reaffirm the importance of this auction to help industry meet the nation’s ever-increasing demand for mobile services,” Clyburn said.