FCC lowers clearing cost for 600MHz auction to $54.6 billion


After the first stage of the FCC’s 600MHz spectrum auction finished back in June at a cost of $86.4 billion, the FCC has now ended the second stage with a lower price.

This week, the FCC finished the second round of its 600MHz auction with a clearing cost of $54.6 million for 114MHz of spectrum, which is considerably less than the original cost of $86.4 billion for 126MHz. The bidders in the auction have to meet this price in order for the auction to move forward.

Now that this second stage is done, the FCC will begin another round of bidding on October 19 to see if the companies involved will bid enough to meet the new clearing cost. If they don’t, the FCC will have to go back to the TV broadcasters and work to lower the cost again.

T-Mobile is one of the companies bidding for 600MHz spectrum in this auction, along with the likes of AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Dish, and others. It remains to be seen how much 600MHz spectrum T-Mobile will end up with, but we know that T-Mo has money to spend and that it plans on deploying the 600MHz spectrum that it does buy as quickly as possible.

Via: FierceWireless
Source: FCC

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  • Willie D

    My understanding is that TMobile only has $10-$12 Billion to spend, and DT isn’t likely to finance more. On top of this, it’s unlikely they will seek low end national spectrum or spectrum outside of areas they don’t already own Band 12

    • Joe

      Could be needing spectrum for 5G speeds. I’m only guessing for 5G speed phones will need to receive multiple signals from different spectrums.

      • SirStephenH

        T-Mobile has said that they plan on deploying LTE on their 600Mhz spectrum. 5g is tending to focus on high band right now.

        • a d00d

          5G is millimeter bands such as the 60 GHz 802.11ad Wi-Gig. You can NOT deploy it on any existing band because there isn’t sufficient spectrum. The hard part of 5G is NOT any new modulation or anything but rather dealing with the necessarily small cells due to the very short range of the band, especially with channels that may be 100 MHz wide or more. (Remember, these bands are mainly used right now for point-to-point microwave with dishes, including back-haul to the existing cells! Of course, so were the PCS and AWS bands originally and look how well they work now (before you bitch, it was considered a miracle back then it worked at all!).)

        • marvin bolden

          Thats way sprint said thy wasn’t interested in the 600 mhz because they already knew it would be no good on that spectrum………smart sprint very smart

    • Joe

      They said they will buy spectrum where they do not have band 12 and where there current band 12 holdings are not sufficient.

      • J.J.

        yea once the fill in the holes i believe they will be hard to beat

  • Walt

    I wonder what nationwide 10x10mhz coverage would cost

  • Aleks

    Quite honestly, this is a huge golden egg that T-Mobile must have in order to stay competitive long term and they know that. So, should T-Mobile come out with a vast amount of spectrum in tow from this auction, it will put it extremely close to the swath of coverage as that of AT&T. Now don’t take my word for it, but this is a huge deal and it could make or break T-Mobile’s future plans in terms of infrastructure and they know that. I’m expecting T-Mobile to secretly bid higher than what they’ve stated so that it catches dumb and dumber off guard. This is a once in a lifetime auction. If T-Mobile is successful, talk about a complete game changer. This could make T-Mobile one of the biggest threats the big two have ever seen and I’m liking this aggressiveness. :) Come on T-Mobile!!!! Pull through you damn sons of bitches!!! Full speed ahead!!!!

    • J.J.

      i agree, but the problem is i believe the big two know this very well and will do anything in their power to stop it. tmo has been stealing their customers by the millions which is unprecedented. the big two will likely try to hoard as much as possible(possibly just to sell later to a less threat) just to keep it away from tmo.

      • SirStephenH

        Verizon actually has very little interest in this auction. The biggest treats are AT&T and spectrum trolls.

        • J-Hop2o6

          I can’t remember, but why does VZN have less interest this time around? Is it because they bought back their portion from Vodafone?

        • SirStephenH

          Verizon already has a good amount of low-band in most areas and has nationwide band 12 (700Mhz) coverage. 600Mhz spectrum could be useful but it complicates things with another band when they’re already pretty set. They’re only expected to pick up licenses here and there where they need more low-band. They’re more focused on higher frequencies for capacity right now.

        • J.J.

          I just hope tmo gets what they need.

        • Jay Holm

          What makes you think Vzn isn’t interested in this auction?

      • Jay Holm

        The bignorant two don’t seem to be hurting by T-Mobile’s customer gains, the bug two still have well over 25 million more customers than T-Mobile unfortunately. T-Mobile has come a long, long ways in the past 3yrs, but still has a very long way to go.

  • stuman19741974 .

    Title says $54.6 billion and article says $54.6 million. 3 orders of magnitude is kinda a big difference.

    • Bradley Karas

      At that price John could just bust out the petty cash lock box LOL

  • Irfan

    .this is too much money they asking for , still Federal government is so poor they cant effort free collage , but they are ready to destroy any country buy this money …

    • marque2

      Why should the government pay for your college. Free college would mean kids wouldn’t even consider what value they get out of college and would mostly take dopey 4 year party degrees. When I went to college, I made sure I would get a degree that was worth enough that I could afford to pay it back.

    • Deplorable Hobgoblin

      By the looks of it, public school has failed you….free collage is not what you need. By the way “free college” wouldn’t be free, we the tax payer would get it up the other end footing the bill, leaving less for my family. I’d rather dumpster dive than take something I didn’t earn.

    • purenupe1

      None those responding negatively to yoyr comments understand the ROI of having an educated and well trained population of potential employees. Tgey would much rather spend the money on missles…or outside the country as “foreign aid”, or ducks calls.

    • Irfan

      sorry to say to everyone , that what the govt want from people to stuck on nonsense debate about Free collage or no , enjoy USA where every thing is possible by people and govt is free to use money collected by people and waist here and there and filling pocket using strong lobbying … the problem is in USA is the Education where all of you are surrounding in one Jar , no way to think something else , same like apple they just change the name and made billions ……america where people without logic due to lake of education

      • thepanttherlady

        [kuh-lahzh, koh-]
        a technique of composing a work of art by pasting on a single surface various materials not normally associated with one another, as newspaper clippings, parts of photographs, theater tickets, and fragments of an envelope.

  • samsung freud

    Hopefully, Tmo will put aside some dollars for more cell towers..

    • a d00d

      They already have, but that construction seems to be slowing since August or September, at least judging by map changes.

      T-Mobile now has nation-wide spectrum and can cover anywhere they choose. They simply choose not to. Thus the ads, as usual for carriers (or almost everyone, for that matter) are still mostly or totally lies, whether by T-Mobile and Sprint (“We cover almost the same people as Verizon”), Verizon (“We had LTE-A first and you don’t!”), and AT&T (“No more overages!”). It’s all a crock!

      • SirStephenH

        Most of the coverage gains over the last two years was from their band 12 deployment, not cell construction. They still don’t have good spectrum portfolios in many areas including a lack of nation-wide low-band coverage. There is only so much area that any of the carriers can cover economically and the big three are near that point.

  • Philip

    All these money go to who? Pay off our nation debt? Pay medicare?

    • a d00d

      1. Carriers essentially “own” it for life, yes–though “life” is defined as “until the next merger / spin-off.

      2. Oink Oink Oink.

      Any other questions?

      • a d00d

        To be more specific about #2, whatever doesn’t go back to the TV broadcasters goes to the FCC and then wherever. But since these are all corporations that are all cross-owned and operated with less than 200 people controlling the boards of most corporations in the USA, “Oink Oink Oink” is still technically a correct answer, whether that pork goes to a politician directly or indirectly (via corporate “lobbying” or “sponsors”).

        • Philip

          Really? Maybe pay the FCC personnel salary for a few months? But look at the fallout, some phone company is going to hold this Mhz for life and thats alot of power! We not suppose to have power grab here. It should be check n balance.

    • SirStephenH

      Most of it goes to the companies that sold the licenses.

  • Philip

    All these Mhz, do the phone carriers own it for life? Need to pay yearly license?

    • SirStephenH

      This is a one-time payment. There are various rules that can be made for an auction including build-out requirements that can result in licenses being taken away if not met but companies generally keep their licenses until the FCC decides to repackage them for another service. They get paid for the licenses they’re giving up during an auction though.

  • Jason Caprio

    Too little too late. I’m done with spotty coverage and inconsistent performance. I’ve been a T-Mobile customer since Feb. 2014 and while coverage has improved drastically since then, it still just doesn’t cut it. I was excited when 700MHz Band 12 was being rolled out because I thought it was going to really improve things, but it has not. I still very often have indoor coverage issues in many buildings where my AT&T work phone would have a signal, but my personal T-Mobile phone would not. (I’m a field tech and visit many different places around Trenton, NJ and Princeton, NJ).

    I just recently got back from a long road trip vacation around the New England area. In Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, T-Mobile is a complete embarrassment. Having even a signal is hit or miss, and more often than not I am stuck roaming on AT&T or US Cellular which is limited to 50MB and throttled to roughly 64kbps. In the Boston, MA area, T-Mobile was amazing and not even slow at all, so that’s an exception. T-Mobile is generally fine in highly populated areas, but travel elsewhere, you are out of luck. I use Google Maps for navigation with Android Auto on my car so I can always glance and see my signal. Most of the time up north it was E or H roaming and rarely LTE. A few times I had to hunt down for Wifi or use my work provided AT&T phone and it’s hotspot.

    My phone is a Galaxy Note 5 which supports Bands 2/4/12 and 3-way Carrier Aggregation.

    I have made the decision to buy a Pixel XL and when I get it, use it on Verizon. It will be awesome when I have service that I can actually depend on!

    • vinnyjr

      I live in Suburb outside of Boston, my T-Mobile service is fantastic. I also have a cottage in Lake Winni…..
      Have solid service there as well my speeds are so fast at home they blow away all other Companies. I couldn’t be happier. I didn’t go T-Mobile because of cost, their service in my area has always been great. Thank You T-Mobile.

      • Jason Caprio

        If they suit you, then all the power to ya! If you were to travel around norhern New Hampshire and Maine, you would have a different opinion. I would have thought by now Band 12 would be more widespread, but all those old EDGE areas are simply refarmed to Band 2 5×5 LTE which is very unreliable and worthless for any indoor coverage.

        The constant roaming is even worse. We stayed in Rutland, VT which is a decent sized town. Roamed on AT&T. I guess the agreement calls for throttled speeds because it was slower than EDGE on “4G” HSPA. Can’t deal with it anymore.

        Vinny, I see why you are satisfied. When I visited the Boston area, my phone always had a full signal and google maps loaded fast and speed tests were great every time! I just wish T-Mobile was like that in more places!

        • gpt2010

          I agree with you Jason. You should leave TMO for what you consider better service instead of complaining. Coverage won’t get better overnight. It will take some time. But at least TMO is trying. I see vast improvements through the years and it has always worked great where I live and play. I don’t really go to rural areas a lot so that coverage and paying for it is not important for me. TMO doesn’t work for everyone. Hopefully over time it.

        • dtam

          Yeah, on vacation I’ve been up there and while service is a lot better than it used to be, it’s not great. But I don’t personally travel up there too often so it’s OK if i have some gaps in coverage. At least now you might only need to travel a mile or two on the highway to get back to an LTE area than being stuck on Edge the entire time.

          Also, because t-mobile’s network backbone is 1700 mhz/2100 mhz so I’m going to say that they really won’t get up to that level in all areas.

        • I was absolutely shocked when I was in Lincoln, NH site of a huge ski resort, that there was no coverage. Likewise when we were at Bretton Woods, another ski resort. No coverage at all.

          That said, I have been tremendously impressed with the increase in coverage I *have* seen over the last four years or so I’ve vacationed up there while on T-Mobile.

          But just amazed and astonished that MAJOR touristy areas have absolutely no coverage (I was on a Note 5 w/band 12).

      • Walt

        You forgot to thank John Legere too

    • Omar Cardenas

      Like always that depends were you live here in los angeles att and sprint both suck. Only tmobile and verizon get signal deep underground in parking lots ,train stations deep in buildings. Other day was in kaiser hospital had lte deep in there on band 12 on my Lg g5 ,verizon also works. While att and sprint have no service at all. Took a trip from LA to San fransisco last month before in 2013 tmobile was very spotty and had edge now its all LTE that 8 hour drive . Was shocked when we made it little towns like santa maria My moms Att galaxy s7 had hspa while tmobile had Lte u would think it would be the opposite Att having lte but no Tmobile had more lte in more towns while att had hspa . Same on the way to vegas that trip before was hell with edge now its lte even on barstow! Which before it was all edge , So on this side they are expanding quick they now even better than At&t .sucks that in Nj were your at their not .

      • Jason Caprio

        Well when it comes between Verizon and AT&T, it’s pretty much a no brainer. Verizon destroys AT&T in many areas. However, in MOST cases with VERY RARE exceptions, when my personal T-Mobile phone has a weak or no signal, my AT&T work phone which is an old iPhone 5C will have a strong and usable HSPA or LTE signal. Maybe once or twice in the last 2 years has T-Mobile beaten AT&T in an indoor area, and we’re talking about 1 little spot deep in a building.

        When it comes to outside any metro area, Verizon and AT&T obliterate T-Mobile in terms of consistency. That is why I have decided to leave. When I first got T-Mobile, I was rooting for them all the way. I was a big fan and was enjoying blazing fast LTE speeds all the time, but I was aware of their coverage limitations and knew they would grow.

        For the past year or so, that growth seemed to become stagnant and LTE speeds in many areas, more specifically highly congested towers in parts of Trenton, NJ where I work, have gone unfixed for over a year even after multiple complaints. I have been exceptionally patient with high hopes of things to get better, but I doubt they will, even after this 600MHz is deployed which probably won’t be for another couple years.

        • Omar Cardenas

          Thats not good
          And well here is the opposite tmobile and verizon destroy att and sprint . In the city and outside they both win . Att hspa in some towns while verizon and tmobile have Lte . I was suprised in barstow which is a desert tmobile had lte we all know verizon had it for years there ,att is hspa some edge yes att edge as of this day . Tmobile now strong lte like verizon.

        • Pitahson

          I don’t travel often but I too switched out of tmobile because of the coverage issues. I thought band 12 would help a lot but it only has helped a little. I love GSM and use lots of data so my only other option is AT&T and thank God for Cricket honstly. They may have high pings and only limited to *Mbps down, but I was able to use 32GB last month with those limitations. AT&T direct would have been 200 without taxes included for 40GB. I still like tmobile and what theyre doing but I learned that I value reliability over speeds. would rather have 4-8mbps in most places than 30mbps+ here and there.

  • Kevin

    I am the same way?? I have had all the carriers and switched to T mobile three years ago. Recently traveled to upstate New York going through Vermont and New Hampshire and lost T-mobile service half way up through NH. After that I decided that I will eventually be switching back to Verizon. I will also have my daughter on my plan soon and feel that I will not get the reliability that verizon offers on tmobile!!

    • Adam

      This is exactly what you would expect from these companies, bases on their different business plans. Just think about what would happen if T-Mobile had coverage equal to Verizon at a lower price. Verizon would not be able to get any customers. As T-Mobile increases coverage, Verizon is forced to increase coverage to maintain a price premium,

    • FryChickenIsha

      I’ve had AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon. My favorite is definitely Verizon. Although, none of these carriers are perfect. In some places my Verizon phone drops to 3G, and my T-Mobile phone has full LTE bars. Or the other way around, only difference is T-Mobile drops to 4G and then E.

    • You probably lost it around Lincoln? I have noticed in the past two years that T-Mobile has made massive inroads in NH (we vacation there in the summer) and I was shocked at all the LTE available. They’ve done a great job. I used to lose LTE around Holyoke on my way up from NY, and then it was Edge and roaming everywhere.

      But there are huge swatches of the mid-western and northern part of the state where there still is just zero signal at all. Their claim that they reach most of what Verizon covers is still a ways off.

  • Raiterio Patterson

    $54.6 million?? That’s a steal! T-Mobile shouldn’t have any problems coming up with the money

  • Alex Zapata

    This auction seems to be dying out pretty quickly…..