Bidding in the second stage of the FCC's forward auction for 600 MHz spectrum has ended after just one round.
According to the FCC, bidding concluded without meeting the final stage rule and without meeting the conditions to trigger an extended round.
The FCC's Incentive Auction dashboard indicated that stage two ended with underwhelming proceeds of $21.5 billion. The price target for the second round of the auction was expected to be as high as $54.6 billion.
The third stage of the auction will continue at a lower clearing target.
In a recent episode of Wireless Week's Tuesdays with Roger, analyst Roger Entner had predicted the auction would miss its target, saying he thought proceeds would come in "somewhere in the low twenties."
The National Association of Broadcasters said in a statement that it was surprised by the results, adding that "broadcasters look forward to the third stage of bidding and a successful completion of the auction."
Scott Bergmann, vice president of regulatory affairs for CTIA, said the results of the auction were within the Association's expectations.
“We always expected the incentive auction to be a multi-staged process," Bergmann said in a statement. "We continue to believe this auction will produce spectrum for the wireless industry that’s key to our nation’s economy and meeting consumer demand.”
Dan Hays, analyst for PwC, said that the quick close to the second stage of the auction shows "just how delicate the balance of supply and demand is for the 600 Mhz spectrum in question."
"Based on the pattern, this could well indicate the sudden exit of one nationwide license being sought, as demand in nearly every major market fell simultaneously from 10 licenses to 9," Hays noted. "The lack of upward motion in the total forward auction proceeds may be disheartening to many broadcasters, who were eagerly awaiting a further narrowing of the gap after reducing their own clearing cost by over 35% just last week."
That said, Hays believe things are moving along as plannned. "The auction is working as planned in an attempt to find a level of spectrum clearing where supply matches demand."