FCC tightens rules for AWS auction

The FCC has decided to modify its rules when it comes to who qualifies as a "designated entity" in the upcoming advanced wireless services auction. In past auctions, big operators skirted around the DE rules, which give bidding credits to smaller companies, by simply partnering with smaller entities who usually sold out to bigger operators later. The commission has now placed restrictions on the ability of applicants and licensees that have certain types of spectrum leasing or resale agreements to qualify for DE benefits.

Specifically, the new rules bar a bidder or licensee that leases or resells more than half of the spectrum capacity of a license from qualifying for the discounts. A bidder or licensee that leases more than 25 percent of the spectrum on a license would be examined to determine if it still qualifies for auction discounts. The FCC also decided that if a licensee that qualified for discounts sold or leased the spectrum within the first five years of the license term, the entire discount would have to be repaid plus interest.

To read more about the FCC's new DE rules for bidding in the AWS auction:
- take a look at this release from the commission