According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the 600MHz Broadcast Television Spectrum Incentive Auction (‘Auction 1002’), which commenced on 16 August, has generated bids worth USD10.588 billion after five rounds of bidding. Round six is scheduled to commence today (Friday 19 August). As expected, spectrum allocations covering New York and Los Angeles have attracted the highest bids thus far, followed by the likes of Chicago, San Francisco, Baltimore-Washington, DC and Philadelphia. Interest in smaller markets has already began to wane, however, sources have noted.
The current Auction 1002 ‘Forward Auction’ was preceded by a ‘Reverse Auction’ between the FCC and the TV broadcasters that held the 600MHz spectrum. This process saw the ‘clearing cost’ for 126MHz of spectrum established at USD86.423 billion, seriously exceeding analyst expectations. If that figure is not met in the Forward Auction, the FCC will reduce the amount of spectrum it will free up and resume bidding with TV broadcasters in a second stage of the Reverse Auction.
A total of 62 companies registered to participate in the process, including mobile giants Verizon Wireless (bidding as Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless), AT&T Mobility (AT&T Spectrum Holdings) and T-Mobile US, while Sprint Corp will sit out the process. In addition, cable giant Comcast will be bidding under the CC Wireless name, while satellite TV firm DISH Network will bid as ParkerB.com Wireless.