AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Cox, Charter among CBRS bidders

spectrum
FCC Commissioner O'Rielly said the FCC will see how the CBRS auctions play out, and he left the door open for a potential second auction in the future. (Pixabay)

The FCC today said that it has received 348 applications from parties interested in bidding in the CBRS priority access licenses (PALs) auction, which is scheduled to begin July 23.  

As expected, applicants include the big three carriers: AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile as well as cable operators Cox and Charter. Dish is also planning to bid under the name Wetterhorn Wireless.

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The list of applicants also includes mid-size service providers such as Midcontinent Communications, US Cellular, Cable One, Shenandoah Cable Television, Windstream, Frontier and Cincinnati Bell. And there are a slew of small service providers on the lists, which account for the majority of the applicants.

In addition, large businesses are planning to bid in the PALs auctions, which is unusual for spectrum auctions. The list of enterprises includes Illinois Electric Cooperative, Texas A&M University, Starwood Holdings, Chevron, Deere & Company, Duke University, Southern California Edison and the University of Kentucky.

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On a recent FierceWireless virtual event, FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly was asked whether large enterprises were aware of the CBRS auctions since spectrum isn’t something they’ve traditionally bid for.

“This is the last go-around on this issue; the opportunity to have 10-year licenses for those that obtain them,” said O’Rielly. "But you still have GAA that will be out there. And then in any market where a license is not taken, that converts to GAA under a use-or-share model, so there will be an opportunity to use this band for those that either miss out in this bid or decide not to participate. At some point, we’ll have to see where those licenses lie and if there are more that have interest and want to push for a second auction in the future.”

Of the 348 applications, 106 were deemed complete, and 242 were deemed incomplete. The incomplete applications will need to be fixed before those bidders can participate in the PALs Auction 105 for spectrum in the 3550-3650 MHz band.

Bidders in the PALs auction are limited to four PALs in any county license area at any given time.