Following yet another weather delay, bidding in the Federal Communications Commission’s Auction 96 continued the momentum shown earlier in the week, pushing auction totals past the $1.4 billion mark. The activity also showed that perhaps the auction was not yet ready to end.
Participants coughed up 232 new bids through the seven rounds of activity on Friday, just nipping the 230 new bids placed on Wednesday. Thursday’s action was axed due to severe weather. Bidding activity remains concentrated outside of the 25 licenses with the most expensive bids, with the Columbus, Ohio, economic area license the priciest market at No. 26 to receive a new bid on Friday. The Springfield, Mo., EA license was the most sought after for the day, receiving two bids per round in three separate rounds.
Friday’s new bids contributed $53 million to the auction’s kitty, pushing the total bid to $1.409 billion. That is still well short of the $1.56 billion Dish Network has pledged to pay for all of the licenses in a pre-auction agreement with the FCC. Dish is participating in the auction under the American H Block Wireless entity. Winning bidders will not be known until the auction concludes, which will happen when a round does not receive any new bids.
The Dish Network pledge was based on a 50 cents per-megahertz/per-potential customer covered price. A number of the larger markets have been bid above that mark, though most licenses are still well below that threshold.
All 23 bidders remained eligible through the end of the day’s bidding, with the North Platte, Neb./Colo., economic area license remaining the only one of the 176 total licenses up for bid to not have a valid bid. The auction is set to continue on Tuesday, following the President’s Day holiday.
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