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Millimeter Wave Spectrum Auction Hits $145 Million In Bids

The Federal Communications Commission’s auction of millimeter wave spectrum for 5G service has raised more than $145 million in bids. Fourteen rounds of bidding have been completed over five days, and now the auction bidding takes a break for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Auction 101 includes just over 3,000 county-based licenses in two 425-megahertz blocks of spectrum at 27.5 – 27.925 GHz and 27.925 – 28.350 GHz. Bidding began last week with forty qualified bidders and had garnered more than $62.2 million in bid after five rounds.

More than 2,300 licenses have now received bids, with the FCC still holding 705 licenses. The most popular licenses are two covering Honolulu, Hawaii, which have both received bids around $6 million; however, most of the licenses have bids of less than $1 million.

The licenses with the top five current bid amounts include:

  • Honolulu, Hawaii: $6.035 million
  • Honolulu, Hawaii: $6.017 million
  • Kern, California: $3.153 million
  • Hidalgo, Texas: $2.933 million
  • Hidalgo, Texas: $2.884 million

Several markets in Pennsylvania are drawing notable competition, with Lancaster, Berks, York, Luzerne, Northampton and Lehigh licenses all receiving new bids of more than $1 million during the most recent round of bidding.

Bidding has been slowing, and the FCC has moved to four rounds of bidding per day in order to speed the auction toward its conclusion. With significant amounts of millimeter wave spectrum already held by carriers such as Verizon (which beat out AT&T in a bidding war for Straight Path that was driven by its high-band spectrum holdings) and AT&T (which acquired Fibertower and its mmWave spectrum holdings), Auction 101 isn’t expected to be a record-breaker for money raised, although Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai has said that this spectrum “will be critical in deploying 5G services and applications.” – rcrwireless

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