24 GHz auction moves to 5 rounds per day

The FCC announced a new bidding schedule for the 24 GHz auction after several days of not-so-much action.

The bidding schedule is increasing to five half-hour rounds per day, up from three one-hour rounds, beginning Thursday, April 4, and continuing each business day until further notice.

Gross proceeds after Round 42 amounted to $1,777,850,720, with New York remaining the top market at $41,113,000 and Los Angeles in second place at $31,635,000.

The little town of Van Horn, Texas, this week was still setting the record for price per MHz-POP, at just over 10 cents. That’s likely because bidders are using smaller markets like this to “park” (i.e., maintain) their eligibility while reducing exposure in top markets that are increasingly expensive, according to Sasha Javid, COO at The Spectrum Consortium. Javid is tracking each round of the auction on his website, and sending daily updates via email.

RELATED: FCC's 24 GHz auction surpasses $1.5B in bids

Bidding in the 24 GHz auction started on March 14 with a clock phase that allows bidding on generic blocks in each Partial Economic Area (PEA) in successive bidding rounds. After the clock phase, there will be an assignment phase to allow winners of the generic blocks to bid for frequency-specific license assignments. 

The lower segment of the 24 GHz band (24.25–24.45 GHz) is being licensed as two 100-megahertz blocks, while the upper segment (24.75–25.25 GHz) is being licensed as five 100-megahertz blocks, with four 100-megahertz blocks and one 75-megahertz block offered in one PEA and only four blocks in three other PEAs. 

The 24 GHz auction was expected to bring in much more revenue than the 28 GHz auction, which ended in January, because it includes many more markets and bigger cities. The 28 GHz auction raised a total of $702,572,410, and bidders won 2,965 licenses, but the FCC isn’t releasing the names of the winners until after the 24 GHz auction concludes.

At its next open meeting on April 12, the FCC will consider a Public Notice seeking comment on procedures for the incentive auction of in the upper 37 GHz, 39 GHz and 47 GHz bands (Auction 103); that auction is due to start later this year.