Action slows in 28 GHz spectrum auction, but bids pass $85M mark

The 28 GHz auction is showing signs of slowing. (FierceWireless)

Bidding in the FCC's 28 GHz spectrum auction continues to cool, with the total amount of bids placed rising to $85.4 million at the end of round eight.

That amount represents a 10% increase over the $77.5 million in total provisionally winning bids placed at the end of round seven. 

Recent rounds of bidding haven't showed much growth in terms of the total amount pledged in bids. For example, the first three rounds of bidding grew around 14% each, but rounds six and seven only grew around 11%, and round eight only grew around 10%.

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Indeed, the FCC said that, starting tomorrow, it will conduct four rounds of bidding per day, a move geared toward hastening the conclusion of the auction.

Bidding in the auction will continue until there are no more bids, so it's conceivable that the FCC's auction of 28 GHz spectrum, dubbed Auction 101, could end relatively quickly. Moreover, if the auction ends quickly, it won't raise very much money for the U.S. Treasury considering other recent spectrum auctions have generated total winning bids of up to $40 billion.

However, following the conclusion of this current 28 GHz auction, all eyes will then turn to Auction 102, or the FCC's auction of 24 GHz spectrum. That auction is expected to generate far more interest because the FCC is offering licenses across most of the country, including in big cities. The FCC's 28 GHz auction, on the other hand, is only offering spectrum in a handful of bid cities. That's because Verizon currently owns much of the 28 GHz band.

Roughly two-thirds of the 28 GHz licenses that the FCC is putting up for auction have received bids so far. Honolulu remains the most popular location with a high bid of almost $3 million at the end of round eight.

Here's a chart of where bidding is occurring:


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