Stage 4 clearing cost in FCC incentive auction set at $10 billion

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The start of the new year has brought with it more news on the FCC’s 600MHz incentive auction.

The reverse part of the FCC’s auction finished recently, and the clearing cost was set at $10 billion for 84 MHz of spectrum. That’s considerably less than it was in the past three stages, which was $86.4 billion in Stage 1, $54.6 billion in Stage 2, and $40.3 billion for Stage 3.

Now that a clearing cost for Stage 4 has been set, we wait to see what the bidders in the forward auction (which includes T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon) will offer for the spectrum that’s available. The FCC expects bidding in the forward auction to begin on January 18.

In each of the previous stages of this auction, the bids put forward have been considerably less than the clearing costs, which is why we’ve seen those clearing costs drop so dramatically. Now that we’re all the way down to $10 billion, though, we could see the bidders meet that clearing cost and allow things to finally move forward after months of back and forth.

Via: FierceWireless
Source: FCC

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  • Joe

    I’ve always wondered. Where does the money go to once the auction is over with? Who gets the 10 billion dollars?

    • John McLain

      to waste mostly. 20T in debt now.

      • Zach Mauch

        LOL! Not really true, but true enough to be damned funny.

    • Roger Sales

      the broadcasters who are giving up their spectrum.

    • Tom Millitzer

      After a long conversation with the FCC – Correct it is the broadcasters that give up the spectrum that get the $10 billion. How much each gets currently is a state secret. The balance; A: about $1.7 billion for infrastructure to groups not participating. B: $200k goes back to the FCC to run the auction, and C: the balance will go to reduce our national debt est: $8 billion. Which means the FCC needs only to conduct 2500+ similiar two year auctions to clear all the current (Excluding unfunded liabilities) US debt, OR, we can BUILD THE WALL.

  • Vontae Everton

    When is the auction done with for we can see what companies bought what

    • Zach Mauch

      They haven’t announced the schedule for stage 4 yet. Based on how long past stages took I expect we will know the results by the end of February or early March.

  • Zach Mauch

    Is there any area where it did clear or is it an all or nothing thing? It makes sense that some areas would be more contested. I’m still hoping for T-Mobile to snag my home town of OKC.

    • Zach Mauch

      So I found on the FCC site where you can see what specific areas were bid up to. However, you can’t see who was bidding. Also, it looks like the reserve numbers are totals only. Nothing on a individual city basis.

      I would really like to know companies on each location. However, we probably won’t know that until this round of bidding concludes (sometime next month I would guess).

      • Steven

        link please, that sounds interesting

  • Jason Caprio

    Even though I jumped ship back to Verizon a few months ago due to my issues with T-Mobile inconsistent performance, I really hope they get a nice amount of spectrum to beef up competition.

    Competition is best for the consumer and I look forward to the day that T-Mobile one day meets or beats Verizon/AT&T. An even playing field means lower prices and more innovations from all carriers!

    • Acdc1a

      Did you really leave T-Mobile? I’d have never known. Thank you for sharing.

    • Gavriel Ostrow

      ha, you left to big red? its not about conditions. Its all bout t-mobile being the best cheapest carrier around! I’m a loyal T-mobile customer for 3 years now. I’m telling you, their coverage now is almost as good as verizons if not better!

      • Jason Caprio

        You must be living in a dreamworld if you think T-Mobile’s coverage even comes close to Verizon, let alone being better. In metro areas and big cities, obviously T-Mobile has excellent coverage, however in big cities I’ve had very inconsistent speeds. I might get 100MBit/sec in one spot, and get an unusable 0.2MBit/sec in another. With Verizon I have CONSISTENT performance everywhere I go, and have not once had connectivity issues while outdoors anywhere. Indoors for the most part, I have a decent working signal on Verizon, with the exception of maybe 2 locations I visit. T-Mobile had a higher chance of not working indoors in many more locations. In rural areas, T-Mobile almost never worked indoors at any location.

        When it comes to traveling away from metro areas, that is where T-Mobile suffers. Back in October 2015 I was traveling around Vermont, Hew Hampshire, and Maine. T-Mobile’s performance was absolutely abysmal. Half the time I had a weak/unusable signal, other times I was roaming on AT&T/Us Cellular throttled at unusable speeds. That was the last straw for me. If and when the time comes that T-Mobile has the reliability of Verizon, I will gladly switch back. I’m not a fanboy of any service, I just choose what works for me. T-Mobile probably works best for you since you rarely travel outside metro areas.

        I’m not trying to hate on T-Mobile and put Verizon on a pedistal, I’m just making others aware of my experience, while at the same time, HOPING that T-Mobile becomes a better and more reliable carrier because eventually I’d like to switch back because they offer better prices and Unlimited data.

        • slybacon

          Hope your Tmo coverage gets better! I can drive from SLC to Vegas (the 400 mile martian desert) with only one town (Scipio) not having LTE. Utah and other western states have improved significantly in recent months.

        • John Wentworth

          It all depends on your location and your priorities.
          I hope they improve coverage in your area soon, if your in a well supported area T-mobile can be a great value.

          But even in NJ which is pretty dense, coverage isn’t quite as good as Verizon, it’s close, but signal drops out occasionally in big buildings or in the middle of nowhere. But having unlimited data and a very low bill are more important to me than the very small inconvience of walking out of a building to get a signal once or twice a month max

        • Jason Caprio

          Having unlimited data is nice, but not worth the sacrifices. I only use about 4 – 10GB per month. I don’t stream music and videos like crazy. Besides the lack of rural coverage, my biggest complaint with T-Mobile was the inconsistent network performance I’d have. In many parts of Philadelphia, PA and Trenton, NJ, with a FULL LTE SIGNAL, I’d have extremely slow data which made things even as simple as google maps very unresponsive. This has yet to happen to me with Verizon in these same areas. T-Mobile has serious congestion issues. This wouldn’t happen all the time, but happened more often than I was comfortable with. Before anybody blames my phone, it was a Galaxy Note 5 with Band 12 support.

        • Rob

          I had the Note 5 myself and it was terrible for signal strength compared to the Nexus 6 I had before it and the HTC 10 that replaced it. It preferred Band 12 towers all the time which killed my bandwidth so the phone definitely could have been the problem.

      • eanfoso

        Lol are you mental? Even cricket has better coverage and is cheaper than t mobile, I switched to cricket over the summer when they had a promo of 135$ per line switching from t mobile. Switched my 5 lines and love LTE everywhere, no need to get new phones, as our phones are unlocked.

  • Dan

    Is t-mobile going for a 10×10 nationwide license?

    • Zach Mauch

      There is no such thing as a “Nationwide” license. They have to bid on each area separately. What they are trying to do is get low band (sub 1000 MHz) coverage nationwide. They already have 700MHz coverage in most areas of the US. Their primary goal is using 600 MHz to fill in the holes and supplement holdings in existing areas as needed.

      Here is a link of their current holdings. The map at the end that shows areas they are unlikely to be able to purchase 700 MHz spectrum for. This will be their primary targets in the 600 band. This includes my home state of Oklahoma.

      http://www.spectrumgateway.com/t-mobile-700a-spectrum

      • Dan

        Band 12 is not on every tower (in areas where its deployed) due to interferance. If they could install 600mhz on those towers with only band 2 and 4 that would be a game changer. There would be no need to deploy band 12 and 600mhz on every tower

      • slybacon

        But their 700 is only 5×5 in almost every place (except some areas of ND, I think). Getting some 600mhz licences “nationwide” isn’t out of the question, IMO, with major metro areas getting higher amounts.

        • Zach Mauch

          I’m not saying it is impossible, but there is no avenue to bid on a block for the whole nation. Every city is bid on individually. There is really no point to it. For many areas (like rural areas) a 5×5 is more than sufficient. That is why T-Mobile was able to buy a lot of 700 MHz from Verizon. It just makes no business sense to buy it for everywhere. It is a waste of money and the investors would never go for it.

      • Sushimane

        Im just curious if you know. Is there a reason why tmobile cant purchase 700mhz in those unlikely locations?

        • TJ Ninneman

          Because US Cellular owns Band 12 on most of those areas. The USCC roaming agreement is going to be key in those areas.

        • Zach Mauch

          T-Mobile has bought all of its 700MHz spectrum for other carriers or companies. The areas where they can’t get it are because the owners won’t sell. Many places a company has already deployed it and is using it successfully.

          Honestly, now that we are already this far living in one of those areas might end up being even better. T-Mobile will likely purchase at least 10×10 in each. Also, they have already said they hope to get some areas rolled out as soon as the end of the year. As long as you get a phone that supports it, you could easily be taking advantage of it by early 2018.

  • pda96

    This auction is taking 4ever!!!

    • dtam

      yup, but hopefully $10 billion is more “reasonable”

  • bojoh

    T-Mobile recently acquired some 700 MHz in Southeastern WV. it says the buildout deadline is between now and 6/3/2019. i am moving soon but would like to have better T-Mobile coverage so i can switch over for the first time. not liking AT&T as much as i used to.

  • eanfoso

    1. Netflix HD streams fine at 4 mbps, why would you need 8 mbps?
    2. You actually can, I guess you just assumed it, but that’s okay because well you actually can.
    3. Yes to truly unlimited
    4. Taxes and fees ARE included, seriously? XD
    5. Roaming can be subjective, with cricket I’d get LTE where t mobile had no service, now traveling to let’s say, Japan, you got me, but less than 1/8 of the population travel outside the United States on a regular basis, plus one can just get a local Sim from the savings of coming from t mobile
    6. I have 5 lines for 160, 2 unlimited, all with international roaming. (this point tells me your plan isn’t the one that includes taxes and fees yet you tried to take a dab at cricket lol seriously? XD)
    7. O so now you’re denying what you said on point 3? Wow lol and yes 70$ a line, plus a discount for multiple lines. But individually is cheaper than t mobile’s 90$ a month
    8. They may not credit you but hey how about…. you just get a cheaper plan to start off with? Cricket has a 30$ individual line with unlimited data and 1 gb of LTE does t mobile have that? XD heck cricket has a dataless plan, unlimited talk and text for 25$ a month, for one line, how about dah?
    9. Cricket gave me 675$ to switch from t mobile, I feel you on that one except I got more money than you
    10. Now t mobile Tuesdays is something unique, but honestly after the first month it became less fancy, I hoarded 5 free pizzas the second week when I found out the loophole, but then I was like, nah not worried about a 50 cent frosty or some magazine subscription. But yes they do have better coverage and are cheaper, am serious man, do the math and research your plan.