Originally published: August 31, 2016
Last updated: August 31, 2016 - 12:44pm
Bidding concluded late in the day on Aug 30 in the first round of a historic spectrum sale to wireless providers and other buyers without regulators reaching their target for the sale. The first stage of the Federal Communications Commission’s sale ended without buyers bidding the $88.3 billion needed to hit the price target. The agency will hold another stage of the auction with a lower spectrum clearing target. A bidding pool that includes major wireless carriers like AT&T and Verizon as well as other companies, like Comcast, and individuals bid roughly $22.4 billion in the first round. The high price target points to the auction’s first-of-a-kind design.
The FCC spent part of 2016 buying wireless spectrum, the invisible frequencies that carry signals to mobile devices, from broadcast stations. Now they’re attempting to resell it to wireless carriers and other bidders. The broadcasters were active participants, leading to the high cost bar that the commission needs to clear. The $88.3 billion number also includes some costs associated with the auction. The commission also set the highest possible target before the auction began for the amount of spectrum it would attempt to sell. The trade group representing broadcast stations on Aug 31 hinted that the showing in the first stage of the auction was evidence that the wireless industry's pleas for more spectrum were misleading.
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