Auction 97, the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) sale of AWS-3 spectrum, got underway yesterday, generating bids of around USD1.8 billion during the first round of bidding. According to RCR Wireless, the J-block bid covering New York City witnessed the biggest financial commitments on day one, with eight bidders bumping the price up to USD105.9 million. Meanwhile, the H-block concession – covering the same geographic location – received six bids, reaching a high of USD48.5 million, while an I-block licence (same location) received seven bids, with a high bid of USD44.1 million. Outside of the New York City area, the J-block licence covering Los Angeles attracted six bids, settling at USD65.5 million, while the corresponding H-block concession received five bids up to USD36 million.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, the FCC is auctioning off 65MHz of frequencies in the 1695MHz-1710MHz, 1755MHz-1780MHz, and 2155MHz-2180MHz bands; 880 licences will be for the larger ‘Economic Area’ franchises, while the remaining 734 concessions will apply to smaller ‘Cellular Market Area’ franchises. A total of 70 companies were qualified to participate in the auction process, including AT&T Mobility (bidding as AT&T Wireless Services 3 LLC), DoCoMo Pacific, Puerto Rico Telephone Company, Teleguam Holdings and T-Mobile US. Verizon Wireless is bidding as Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless, while satellite TV giant DISH Network is bidding under the name American AWS-3 Wireless.