FCC generates more than $4.5 billion in latest wireless spectrum auction

The Federal Communications Commission this week announced the winners of its recent 3.5GHz band auction, which offered the largest number of spectrum licenses ever in a single FCC auction. Verizon and Dish shelled out big time while AT&T and T-Mobile were mostly inactive, likely building their war chest for the C-band auction later this year.
The auction, which began on July 23 and wrapped up on August 25, offered 70 megahertz of Priority Access Licenses (PALs) in the 3550-3650 MHz band. In total, the auction generated $4,585,663,345 from 228 bidders who won a total of 20,625 licenses.

Verizon Wireless was the biggest spender in the auction, agreeing to license $1,893,791,991 worth of spectrum. Dish Network, bidding as Wetterhorn Wireless LLC, committed to $912,939,410 in exchange for 5,492 PALs.

Charter, bidding as Spectrum Wireless Holdings, XF Wireless Investment / Comcast and Cox Communications rounded out the top five with total bids of $464,251,209, $458,725,900 and $212,805,412, respectively.

Curiously enough, AT&T didn’t participate in the auction and T-Mobile only picked up a handful of licenses. Mark Lowenstein, managing director of Mobile Ecosystem, believes AT&T and T-Mobile might be saving their ammunition for the C-band auction scheduled for December.

The FCC said winning bidders have until September 17 to submit a down payment totaling 20 percent of their winning bid(s). Full payment is due by October 1, 2020.