FCC releases opening bid information for 600MHz spectrum auction


The FCC today announced the opening bid prices for its 600MHz spectrum auction, which will begin early next year. The most expensive opening bid for the reverse auction — in which broadcasters sell spectrum to the FCC — goes to WCBS-TV in New York, NY., which starts out at a cool $900 million. Meanwhile, the highest opening bid for the forward auction — wherein carriers will bid on the spectrum being given up — is $135 million, also for NYC.

The FCC also says that applications to participate in the auction can be submitted starting December 1, with the application window closing on December 18. The auction itself is currently expected to begin at the tail-end of March 2016. An FCC official says that the entire auction process is expected to finish in the second or third quarter of 2016.

Finally, the FCC has released a list the 30MHz spectrum reserves and the carriers that are eligible to bid on them. It’s worth noting that while Sprint is included on just about every one, the carrier has said that it doesn’t plan to participate in the auction.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has issued a statement on the release of all of this auction information:

“For potential Incentive Auction participants, today is a watershed moment. For all practical purposes, we’ve fired the starting gun: the release of final opening bid prices – combined with the detailed application procedures and other data released yesterday – provides broadcasters with all of the information they need to decide whether to apply to participate in the auction. Stations that miss the December 18th deadline will not be able to participate in this historic auction. Commission staff stand ready to educate and assist applicants as they prepare.”

T-Mobile has indicated that this auction is a big deal for it, adding that it could spend up to $10 billion if necessary. The good news for T-Mobile is that some smaller carriers for whom this reserve is also set aside for are expressing disinterest in participating in the auction, both because doing so will tie up millions of dollars for several years, and because they’ll still have to participate against AT&T and Verizon in some areas that the reserve doesn’t include.

If you’re interested in looking over all of the opening bids released today, you can find the reverse auction prices here and the forward auction info here.

Via: Fierce Wireless, Reuters
Sources: FCC (1), (2), (3)

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  • Raiterio Patterson

    YES! Good news for once about North Carolina! WFMY-TV is selling!

    • KingCobra

      What markets in NC do they cover? Would love some low band in Charlotte for the additional building penetration.

    • greg5green

      I’m sure they could work out a deal if T-Mobile were to buy the GSO 700a license, but this is super great news for US Cellular in Raleigh and Durham too since they are inside WFMY’s exclusion zone for 700a.

      • Raiterio Patterson

        I predict T-Mobile filling in the gaps in the south. It’s was on Periscope visiting a center in Charleston, South Carolina

  • AdsBeGone

    I opened the link accidentally in Twitter instead of Safari. I was quickly reminded how terrible the ads are on this site.

    I’ll I can say is thank the ad blocker gods.

    • The ads on this site are repulsive. I have no regrets blocking the ads and them losing revenue because they display ads that—at this point—are offensive to look at.

      • dtam

        What, you don’t like the breakthrough skinny pills?

      • Not to mention the autoscroll “feature”

  • kev2684

    since Sprint is not participating, looks like T-Mo can snag so much low spectrum on densely populated areas.

    so i live in Jacksonville, FL. T-Mo and VZW will go head to head in for the spectrum. how many tv networks should move to get 5 mhz of paired spectrum and what happens to their OTA live feed? i watch live TV with amazon’s version of the mohu leaf flat antenna.

    so many questions.

    • Epic_Ninja420

      hopefully they get a bunch in Jax since they can’t get 700.

      • kev2684

        they could if they want. continuum 700 is sitting on it. they have 14 something mil pops up for grabs according to their website.

        • slybacon

          Yep, including parts of Idaho, Utah, New Mexico, Florida, and along the southeast coast. And I don’t think Continuum said they aren’t selling… So, I Tmo could make them an offer

  • J-Hop2o6

    Checking out the PDF, it’s looking good for T-Mo. Especially since Sprint and other small carriers won’t participate. Go all in Tmo! Hopefully T-Mo gets atleast 20MHz nationwide, and hopefully 30MHz in Metro areas.

    • TechHog

      Actually, it’s not good. If small carriers keep dropping out, either less TV stations will sell their spectrum of the reserve will be removed. It needs to stop ASAP.

      • enkay1

        The rural carriers are going to bid. All this hand-wringing is only because Cellcom said they might not participate. There are at least a dozen others who will be in the auction.

  • Raiterio Patterson

    The forward auction info for the cities of North Carolina are as follows: Franklin, Marion, Elizabeth City, Mount Airy, Rockingham, Lenoir, Kannapolis, Lexington, Shelby, Lumberton, Hickory, Salisbury, Fayetteville, Golsboro, Winston-Salem, Wilmington, Sanford, Rocky Mount, Asheville, Greenville, Greensboro, Raleigh, and the most important of all: CHARLOTTE!!!!!!

    • disqus_lf8Qw4mMGV

      you do know that at@t and Verizon don’t have any low band spectrum in those areas. So if t mobile has to compete with at@t and Verizon. They pay not be able to get any.

      • enkay1

        What are you talking about? Verizon has national 700 MHz licenses so they automatically have spectrum there. Plus both AT&T and Verizon hold 850 MHz in some of those areas.

      • Raiterio Patterson

        Yea, what enkay1 said. AT&T and VZN owns more than enough low band in NC they don’t need anymore

  • Raiterio Patterson

    Is there concrete proof that Sprint won’t participate?

    • TechHog

      They flat-out said that they won’t.

      • dtam

        hoping they follow through with what they said…

        • TechHog

          Why would they say that they won’t do it if there were a chance that they will?

        • dtam

          you just never know until it happens. people/corporations change their mind all the time. and can you honestly say sprint is a well run company?

        • TechHog

          The reason that they’re not doing it is because they can’t afford to. Unless they get the money somehow or they abandon their current plans, they can’t participate even if they want to.

  • SirStephenH

    Sorry, I can’t help myself.

    “Finally, the FCC has released a list the 30MHz spectrum reserves”

    It should be “a list of the”.

    • Thatguy

      Grammar Troll