WiFi and 5G win spectrum that the satellite and car industries lose

10 January 2020 by Steve Blum
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Pai shapiro 1 ces 7jan2020

Despite his enthusiasm for federalising any policy that touches on telecoms, big footing state and local governments isn’t at the top of Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai’s 5G wish list. Pai and three of his fellow commissioners spoke at CES in Las Vegas earlier this week. When asked about the main barriers to widespread deployment of 5G broadband service, Pai listed cost, spectrum and the availability of trained construction crews.

Although there’s not a lot that a telecoms regulator can do about workforce training or construction costs, spectrum availability is the FCC’s core responsibility.… More

T-Mobile leads 600 MHz auction, DISH slips easily in behind

16 April 2017 by Steve Blum
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T-Mobile is the big winner, or at least the big spender, in the Federal Communication Commission’s $20 billion incentive auction, walking away with more than half the 600 MHz band licenses up for grabs – 1,525 licenses, 55% of the total. Second place went to DISH, which paid $6.2 billion for 486 licenses, 18% of the total.

Who came in third depends on how you’re figuring it. Comcast bid the third most money – $1.7 billion – but ended up with only 73 licenses, a mere 3%.… More

Mobile carriers buy 70MHz UHF slice for $20 billion

13 February 2017 by Steve Blum
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The auction is over and mobile broadband carriers gained 70 MHz of spectrum in the 600 MHz band, at a cost just under $20 billion. After four cycles of downward bidding by television companies willing to sell their channel assignments followed by upward bidding by wireless companies wanting to buy them, the Federal Communications Commission’s incentive auction ended on Friday.

The downward, selling price auction ended last month, with TV stations willing to accept $10 billion in return for giving up 84 MHz of UHF spectrum.… More

TV-to-mobile spectrum transfer heads to fourth auction round

6 December 2016 by Steve Blum
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Less equals less, when it comes to spectrum auctions. That seems to be the lesson the Federal Communications Commission is learning as it ends its third stage of reverse-and-forward auctions for frequencies currently used by television broadcasters and coveted by mobile carriers.

But not coveted as much as broadcasters think, apparently. The FCC opened the bidding from mobile carriers and closed it couple hours later when it became clear that the price they are willing to pay isn’t anywhere near what broadcasters want in exchange for giving it up.… More

Forward mobile spectrum auction goes into reverse

23 October 2016 by Steve Blum
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Maybe it’s just a Rockford?

Well, that didn’t take long. Two hours after the Federal Communications Commission starting taking bids from mobile carriers (and, perhaps, would-be mobile carriers) for 90 MHz of television spectrum, it shut the auction down. Instead of stretching out for several bidding sessions over many days, or even weeks, the second stage of the incentive auction ended fast, and on a down note.

Mobile carriers were willing to pay $21.5 billion for the 90 MHz that was on offer.… More

Shifting spectrum from TV to mobile broadband still looks expensive

14 October 2016 by Steve Blum
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Broadcasters have reduced their selling price by $32 billion in the second round of the Federal Communications Commission’s incentive auction, which ended yesterday. Even so, there’s still a big gap between that and what mobile broadband carriers were willing to pay in the first round.

The auction is aimed at moving legacy TV stations off of prime UHF real estate so mobile broadband companies can use the bandwidth instead.

The second, reverse round of the auction began last month, with 90 MHz of prime mobile broadband spectrum on the line (and another 24 MHz for unlicensed uses and guard band duty).… More

High, perhaps unrealistically high, price asked for TV spectrum

1 July 2016 by Steve Blum
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It’ll cost $86 billion to free up 100 MHz of broadcast television spectrum for licensed mobile broadband use and another 26 MHz for guard bands and unlicensed users. That’s the result from the reverse auction run by the Federal Communications Commission for television station owners, who were supposed to progressively bid down the price they were willing to accept in exchange for giving up their assigned channels.

That figure is more than twice as much as originally expected.… More

Auction underway to free up 100 MHz for mobile broadband

3 June 2016 by Steve Blum
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Worth billions now.

The long delayed double auction aimed at transferring 100 MHz of UHF spectrum from television broadcasting to mobile Internet service is finally underway. The first step is a reverse auction where television station owners bid down the price they’re willing accept to give up their channel assignments. It started this week with one daily round of bids on Tuesday and Wednesday, and stepped up to two rounds a day yesterday.

All totalled, the FCC wants to set a price for 126 MHz of UHF spectrum in the 600 MHz band.… More

FCC puzzles mobile broadband crunch and spectrum auctions

10 January 2014 by Steve Blum
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Washington works by twists and turns.

“I keep describing it as a Rubik’s cube”, said FCC chair Tom Wheeler as he answered questions at CES about plans to auction off television frequencies for mobile broadband use. Like a Rubik’s cube, it’s a constantly moving problem on three axes: a reverse auction to buy back TV channels and a regular auction to sell the bandwidth to mobile phone companies, all while repacking television stations into less spectrum.… More