The clearing cost for Stage 3 of the reverse auction was set at $40.3 billion, which is the target amount that the bidders in the auction would need to offer for the auction to continue forward. However, the bidders only offered up $19.7 billion for the 108MHz of spectrum that would result in 80MHz for wireless use.
So now that Stage 3 is complete and the clearing cost and bids are still far apart, we’ll move on to Stage 4. The FCC will talk to the TV broadcasters that currently own the spectrum, work to lower the amount that’ll be available, and then come back with a lower clearing cost to see if the bidders — which include T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon — to see if their offer can match the new clearing cost.
It’s expected that Stage 4 will begin on December 13. It’s unclear what the new clearing cost will be, but considering how far apart the Stage 3 clearing cost and total bids were, the new clearing cost will probably to be quite a bit lower if this incentive auction is going to avoid Stage 5.