700MHz: It’s Done!  

It’s done. The 700 MHz spectrum auction wrapped up this afternoon, at the Federal Communications Commission, having raised $19.592 billon for the U.S. Treasury, reports RCR Wireless News. Blog Runner and the Wall Street Journal have more.

The FCC is expected to release the names of license winners within 10 days after the close of the auction.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said he sent an order to the other FCC commissioners to “delink” the failed D Block from the 700 MHz auction so the auction can be officially closed. Once the commission approves the move, the names of the 700 MHz winners can be released “almost immediately.”

Block Frequencies (MHz) Bandwidth Pairing Geographic Area Type

No. of Licenses

A 698-704, 728-734 12 MHz 2 x 6 MHz EA 176
B 704-710, 734-740 12 MHz 2 x 6 MHz CMA 734
E 722-728 6 MHz unpaired EA 176
C 746-757, 776-787 22 MHz 2 x 11 MHz REAG 12
D 758-763, 788-793 10 MHz 2 x 5 MHz Nationwide 1*
*Subject to conditions respecting a public/private partnership.

The anonymous bidding technique was intended to prevent anti-competitive activity during the auction.


  • The C Block carried a $4.6 billion reserve price that was surpassed during round 17. That triggered the spectrum’s open-access provision that required handsets on the band to be able to use third party applications. The open-access provision was championed by Google, but many analysts believe it was Verizon Wireless or AT&T Mobility that actually won the C-Block spectrum.

    Bidders had the option of chasing a nationwide package of eight C-Block licenses. But it ended up split into 12 regional blocks. Thus, there is likely more than one C-Block winner.

    The 12 regional C-Block licenses generated some of the largest individual bids during the 700 MHz auction, with the licenses covering the Mississippi Valley region generating a provisionally winning bid of $1.6 billion.

  • The “D” block, which was supposed to provide public safety access if its $1.3 billion reserve price was met, failed to attract any bids beyond a $472 million opening bid. Frontline Wireless, which planned to bid, did not raise enough investor interest and shuttered its doors just before the auction.

    The FCC now has to decide whether to re-auction the “D” block with a lower reserve price or alter the buildout requirements. House telecom subcommittee Chairman Edward Markey (D-Mass.) said he plans to hold a hearing to discuss results from the auction, including plans for the D Block.

  • The “A” and “B” blocks are smaller (2×6 Mhz) chunks in the lower 700 mHz band. They are less ideal since they’re close to the 50,000 watt MediaFLO powerhouse (on channel 55) and the “E” block on channel 56.
  • The “E” block is a non-paired 6 MHz channel, probably destined for mobile television.

Of the 1,099 licenses up for auction, eight remained without a bid: A-Block licenses covering Lubbock, Texas, and Wheeling, W.Va., and B-Block licenses covering Bismarck, Fargo and Grand Forks, N.D.; Lee, Va.; Yancey, N.C.; and Clarendon, S.C.

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