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H Block Spectrum Auction Closes, Meets $1.56B Reserve Price

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 1:30pm
Ben Munson

The H Block Auction (Auction 96), the FCC’s first major spectrum sale in more than five years, is officially closed.

The 10 MHz of paired spectrum in the 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz bands was broken into 176 licenses, one for each Economic Area (EA). The auction took in a little more than $1.56 billion, the reserve price the FCC set for the auction.

“With this successful auction, the Commission makes good on its commitment to unleash more spectrum for consumers and businesses, delivering a significant down payment towards funding the nationwide interoperable public safety network,” FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a statement.

Wheeler added his appreciation to FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn for scheduling the auction and to the technical team “who worked so hard to resolve technical issues that made this previously unusable spectrum valuable."

The FCC intends to release the names of the winning bidders and the amounts of the winning bids in the coming days.

But with all four of the major U.S. carriers opting not to participate in the auction, it’s likely that Dish Network was able to win the majority of the available H Block licenses.

The auction began Jan. 22 and cycled through 167 rounds of bidding before closing Feb. 27. The highest Provisional Winning Bids (PWB) went for EAs representing the New York Market ($217 million) and Los Angeles ($167 million).

The spectrum being auctioned has been approved for use with terrestrial and mobile wireless services including mobile broadband. According to FCC timelines, winning bidders will be required to deploy service to at least 40 percent of the population of an EA within four years after the license is granted and 75 percent within 10 years.

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