T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular among carriers with incomplete applications for FCC auction

Fewer than one in 10 of the applicants for the FCC's $300 million Mobility Fund auction have submitted applications that the FCC deemed complete, and the commission is giving potential bidders around two more weeks to improve their applications.

According to a public notice issued by the FCC Aug. 9, only five out of the total 53 applications were deemed to be complete and in compliance with the FCC's rules. The FCC is giving applicants deemed incomplete until 6 p.m. EST on Aug. 27 to resubmit applications and become an eligible bidder in the auction, which is scheduled to take place Sept. 27. The auction is designed to spread mobile broadband coverage to rural parts of the country.

The five bidders that submitted completed applications are Commnet Four Corners, Commnet of Nevada, NEP Cellcorp, Pine Cellular Phones and Pinpoint Wireless. Among the companies that submitted incomplete applications are Carolina West Wireless, Hopi Telecommunications, SI Wireless, four subsidiaries of T-Mobile USA and U.S. Cellular.

"Designation of an application as complete indicates that the applicant has provided the certifications and basic information concerning its qualifications as required by the" FCC's competitive bidding rules for participation in the auction, the commission said. 

A test auction will take place Sept. 25, followed by the real auction starting Sept. 27, which will be held online using the FCC's auction system. The FCC will give up to $300 million in one-time Mobility Fund support to carriers that agree to provide 3G or LTE service to areas that do not currently have mobile voice and broadband coverage. Carriers will bid for the amount of support they need to meet the Mobility Fund Phase I service and other public interest obligations in the eligible census blocks covered by the geographic area on which they bid.

In July the FCC said four T-Mobile subsidiaries could participate in the auction. The four subsidiaries included PowerTel/Memphis in Alabama and Tennessee; T-Mobile Central LLC in Alabama; T-Mobile South LLC in Florida and North Carolina; and T-Mobile Northeast LLC in New Hampshire, New York and Virginia.

The Mobility Fund is part of the Connect America Fund that the FCC approved in November 2011 to overhaul its outdated universal service and intercarrier compensation systems in an effort to connect everyone in the United States to broadband. Phase II of the Mobility Fund is supposed to provide $500 million annually for ongoing support of mobile services.

For more:
- see this FCC public notice
- see this FCC document
- see this separate FCC document

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