FCC Spectrum Auction By the Numbers

The Federal Communications Commission is gearing up for the second stage of its complex spectrum incentive auction beginning Sept. 13. Bloomberg BNA has been tracking the action and analyzing the data from bidding in the first stage of the auction.

Bidding by wireless carriers in the "forward" portion of the auction reached $23.11 billion after 27 rounds, but failed to meet the $88.4 billion threshold needed to complete the auction at the initial  target set by the auction's mechanism to clear broadcasters off of their airwaves.

The next stage of the auction is set to try to get back a lesser amount of spectrum from broadcasters, which will be then auctioned off by the FCC to the wireless industry. The wireless industry hopes it will take far less money to reach that goal, which won’t be revealed until the FCC completes the broadcaster portion of the auction.
Certain major markets are expected to remain in high demand in the second stage of wireless bidding. In the first stage, Los Angeles, New York and Chicago were all top markets.

The FCC wrapped up the first stage of the auction in the 27th round after bidding stalled in 406 out of 416 markets, also called “partial economic areas,” or PEAs.

The next stage of bidding in the wireless portion of the auction should enable observers to compare round-by-round and market-by-market bidding metrics between the two stages. Look to Bloomberg BNA for more auction data and analysis.