FCC H block auction concludes after 166 rounds; will DISH run away with the spoils?

28 Feb 2014

The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) auction of H block spectrum officially ended on Thursday afternoon, with total bids of USD1.564 billion – exactly the reserve price. Although it has not yet been confirmed by FCC officials, it is believed that satellite giant-turned-aspirant wireless player DISH Network is likely going to be the winner of the airwaves. No new bids were placed in round 167, thus ending the bidding process, which began back on 22 January. According to RCR Wireless, the three most expensive licences covered New York City (USD216 million), Los Angeles (USD167 million) and Chicago (USD96 million). The FCC is expected to release the names of the highest bidders within five days of the auction’s conclusion.

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler commented: ‘With this successful auction, the Commission makes good on its commitment to unleash more spectrum for consumers and businesses, delivering a significant down payment towards funding the nationwide interoperable public safety network. The H Block auction is a win for the American people, and we thank Chairwoman [Mignon] Clyburn for her leadership scheduling it. We also commend everyone who worked so hard to resolve technical issues that made this previously unusable spectrum valuable’.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the auction represents the regulator’s first major spectrum sale since 2008. The bidding process, which has been designated as ‘Auction 96’, comprises frequencies in the 1915MHz-1920MHz (Lower H block) and 1995MHz-2000MHz (Upper H block) bands.



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