Nearly a year to the day after it kicked off, the FCC’s 600 MHz incentive auction finally closed on Thursday with the conclusion of its block assignment phase.
While the Commission has yet to release its formal Incentive Auction Closing and Channel Reassignment Public Notice – which is due out in the coming weeks – Incentive Auction Task Force Chair Gary Epstein said Thursday marked the end of all bidding activity in the proceedings.
“Today’s conclusion of the assignment phase formally brings all bidding activity in this multi-phase auction to a close. The incentive auction has required unprecedented commitment from bidders as well as Commission staff, who from the moment that broadcasters made their initial commitments to the final bids processed this afternoon have worked each day to assist bidders and ensure a fair and successful auction,” Epstein commented. “We are excited to share the results of the reverse and forward auctions and extensive information about the post-auction transition in the next few weeks.”
The forward auction brought in proceeds totaling $19.63 billion, falling short of the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of $25 billion. That figure inched up to $19.8 billion in the assignment phase, during which winning bidders placed additional bids to secure particular spectrum blocks in their markets.
The results of the auction be detailed in the aforementioned public notice. That document will reportedly “announce the results of the reverse and forward auctions and will provide important information, reminders, and details regarding post-auction procedures and the obligations of successful bidders in the reverse and forward auctions,” according to the FCC’s auction dashboard. A day after that public notice is distributed, the FCC said it will release the complete forward auction round-by-round results, including bidder identities, via the Public Reporting System.
Until then, though, the FCC said quiet period rules remain in effect.
Some bidders have already hinted at their spending in the auction. U.S. Cellular raised eyebrows last month when it revealed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission it submitted bids of at least $327 million. AT&T also hinted at its auction spending in its own recent SEC filing, noting “Our commitment to purchase 600 MHz spectrum licenses for which we submitted bids is expected to be more than satisfied by the deposits made to the FCC in the third quarter of 2016.” Those deposits, as laid out by BTIG’s Walter Piecyk in October, likely totaled around $2.4 billion.
Filed Under: Telecommunications (Spectrum)