CBRS Auction Chugs Along

Bids increased by more than $200 million since Monday

After 11 rounds Thursday (July 30), the FCC’s CBRS auction had drawn $$723,243,566 in gross proceeds.

That was up from $675,158,287 in round 10, $632,051,948 in round nine and an increase of more than $200 million million over round six’s $519,155,888 total on Monday (July 27).

The auction, the FCC’s first-ever flexible-license mid-band auction, began with a single, six-hour, round; moved to two, two-hour rounds, for the succeeding two days, and on Wednesday shifted to three, hour-and-a-half rounds until further notice, which is at least through Thursday, according to the FCC’s web site.

The FCC is auctioning 70 MHz worth of county-based Priority Access Licenses (PALs) (a whopping 22,631 of them) in the 3550-3650 MHz 93.5 GHz) band. It is the most-ever flexible-use licenses available in a single auction, the FCC said. Each license will be a 10 MHz unpaired channel. There are 271 qualified bidders.

The band is being shared by federal and non-federal users, with incumbents–Navy radar, for example–having the top priority, followed by PALs and then general authorized users (GAAs). 

Sasha Javid, COO of BitPath and former top FCC auction official, said that a couple of the key questions the auction should answer is how much Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile-Sprint is willing to pay for spectrum that requires frequency coordination and “strict” power limits and whether Charter and Comcast (or Dish) will “take the plunge” and bid “in a meaningful way.”