The FCC on Thursday said it will double the number of daily bidding rounds in the forward spectrum auction starting Monday, and provided guidance on timing of the assignment phase that will follow the end of bidding.
Starting with Round 14 on January 30, there will be four one-hour forward auction bidding rounds per day, up from two two-hour sessions in previous rounds. Bidding will start at 10 a.m. and close at 5 p.m., with hour-long breaks between each round.
The Commission indicated it could change the bidding schedule again in the future, but said the four-round schedule will hold until further notice.
The FCC also took a moment to clarify timing of the upcoming assignment phase that will follow the close of forward auction bidding. In the assignment phase, winning wireless bidders will be able to bid for specific blocks in their markets.
The Commission indicated Thursday it will release a concrete date for the assignment period “within a few business days” after the end of the forward auction clock phase, and will distribute educational materials including an online tutorial to allow participants to familiarize themselves with the assignment process. About a week after those materials go out, a brief preview period will follow during which bidders can log on to the system, view the full schedule of assignment rounds, and download their bidding options. Actual bidding in the assignment period will follow the completion of the practice and mock auctions, the FCC said.
Bidding in the assignment phase is expected to “take several weeks” due to the large number of partial economic areas that must be assigned, the Commission added.
Though previous forward auction Stages have ended quickly, bidders finally seem to have found their sweet spot and auction proceeds have steadily crept up as a result.
As of the end of Round 10, auction proceeds had reached $18.52 billion, up from $17.7 billion in Round 1 and $18.2 billion in Round 2. Round 10’s total was $17.5 million more than the $18.505 million total from Round 9.
Filed Under: Telecommunications (Spectrum)