With four rounds completed in the FCC's auction of 28 GHz spectrum for 5G, there are 2,093 county-sized licenses with provisionally winning bids (PWBs)—out of 3,072 available. So far, $47,759,960 has been bid, up $7,033,380 from the round-three total of $41,693,960.
The FCC launched the auction Wednesday (Nov. 15) with two, two-hour rounds. Bidding was suspended Thursday (Nov. 15) after round four, the reason being the severe weather—several inches of snow in D.C. There will be three, one-hour, rounds on Friday and until further notice, the FCC said.
The FCC does not identify who is bidding for which licenses, only the amount bid and the new bid amount as the auction continues.
The aggregate minimum bid over all licenses is about $40 million, but even with the round-four total exceeding that, there could still be, and are, bids that have not met their license minimums in some areas, while in others the bids have pushed past the minimums.
PWBs are ones that have met the minimum bid for those individual licenses and so are provisional winners until and unless they are outbid in subsequent rounds. The FCC set the minimum bids relatively low to get the spectrum into the hands of those who will build out the next generation of super-fast wireless. In turn, that will both help close the rural broadband divide—many of the licenses are in rural areas—and boost competition to fixed broadband, both FCC goals.
The FCC concedes it has never pushed so much spectrum into the market at one time before (two 5G auctions in a row starting with the 28 GHz Wednesday [Nov. 14] and the 24 GHz auction immediately thereafter, plus three spectrum auctions slated for next year) with a total of almost 5 GHz of spectrum, or more than all the current carriers have combined.