The Federal Communications Commission’s auction of 2.5 GHz mid-band spectrum raised more than $103 million on its first day of bidding.
The auction started with a single, six-hour bidding period. Two two-hour bidding rounds are scheduled for Monday.
Only 168 of the available licenses had no bids in the first round. Most of the licenses — 4,395, to be exact — had a single bidder in the first round. A total of 3,454 licenses had multiple bidders.
Since this is an overlay license auction with limited utility in the major metropolitan areas, this auction may have different dynamics than the typical auction flow, where dense urban areas get bids up quickly until bidders drop out and the big metro prices settle. first with bidding, then shifting to medium markets and finally to rural areas.
On the first day of bidding in Auction 108, the licenses in greatest demand were in Cache County, Utah, with a population of less than 113,000 people and a first-round price of $30,000. Six bidders submitted bids. Meanwhile, licenses covering Los Angeles County, Cook County (IL) and Harris County (TX) with $1 million or $2 million plus price tags received no bids or one.
Places like Sweetwater County, WY; Shawano and Grant counties in Wisconsin and Franklin County in Washington state were among the areas where licenses received five bids during the first round.
There are approximately 8,000 licenses at the county level at the top, with the best actual spectrum use in rural areas due to burdens on the spectrum in urban areas. The 2.5 GHz (2.496-2.690 GHz) spectrum available in this auction is being sold as overlay licenses, as a result of the FCC’s efforts over the past few years to reform the use of the band formerly known as Educational Broadband Service (EBS) tape. In particular, the former Sprint had built up extensive leasing agreements across the country with educational institutions that had EBS licenses. T-Mobile US bought Sprint’s 2.5 GHz spectrum when it bought the rival carrier and has relied heavily on that mid-band spectrum rollout for its 5G services. This auction allows the operator to buy even more 2.5 GHz spectrum as it continues to emphasize its pursuit of customers in smaller and rural areas.
There are three available channels according to the FCC band schedule: Channel 1, which is 49.5 megahertz spectrum; Channel 2 is adjacent to channel 1 and consists of 50.5 megahertz spectrum. There is also a smaller channel, Channel 3, which consists of 17.5 megahertz and is not adjacent to either of the other two channels. Channels 1 and 2 seem to have more interest than Channel 3 – for example, in Cache County, UT, there were six bids each on Channels 1 and 2, but only three bids on Channel 3.
The auction will use an ascending clock format auction. The FCC has put together a new mapping tool so potential bidders can find out if there are unassigned 2.5 GHz licenses in areas they are considering.
There is a field of 82 qualified bidders, including the three national wireless network operators, US Cellular and Dish Wireless, bidding under the Carbonate Wireless name.
There are also a significant number of small and mid-sized carriers set to participate in the auction, including Carolina West Wireless, Cellular South Wireless, Copper Valley Wireless, Granite Wireless, Nex-Tech Wireless, NSight, Puerto Rico Telephone Company, Redzone Wireless and Union Telephone Company. Mac Pro Tricks