28 GHz spectrum auction limps toward holidays with almost $690M in total bids

Action in the auction is slowing. (FierceWireless)

Bidding action continues to dwindle in the FCC’s auction of 28 GHz licenses as the holiday break looms.

In the event’s most recent round of bidding, the total amount of money pledged by bidders edged up just $21,000 in round 87. The auction, dubbed Auction 101, now counts total combined provisionally winning bids of $689,809,860.

The auction will end when there is a round with no new bids.

The FCC today reminded bidders that action in the auction will be suspended after round 88, which ends at 1:00 PM Eastern Time today. “Bidding will resume on Thursday, January 3, 2019, at 10:00 AM ET using the following four-round round bidding schedule until further notice,” the FCC noted.

RELATED: The 28 GHz spectrum auction could end soon

Companies ranging from Verizon to T-Mobile to Starry have been approved to participate in the auction.

This is the first time in recent history that the FCC has auctioned off so-called millimeter wave spectrum—spectrum that essentially sits above 20 GHz. Such spectrum has long been viewed as “junk” spectrum, but in recent years its value has skyrocketed as wireless network operators look for millimeter wave spectrum licenses for 5G networks.

However, Auction 101 is only offering licenses in smaller locations in around one-fourth of the geographic territory of the United States. Auction 102 is scheduled to start shortly after Auction 101 ends and is scheduled to offer 24 GHz spectrum licenses in prime locations all over the country. As a result, the Wall Street analysts at Cowen predicted that Auction 102 could generate roughly $3.2 billion in provisionally winning bids.