Advanced Television

FCC bidding slows for C-band frequencies

January 11, 2021

By Chris Forrester

The five C-band bidding sessions in the US on January 8th only managed to raise $147 million (€120.6m), although taking the cumulative gross total to $80.65 billion. There are just two more days of planned bidding (January 11th and 12th) when the process should wrap up.

Whatever the result on January 12th, this auction has been the most lucrative by any measure and realising far more than the previous record of $44.89 billion (for Auction 97 in 2014-2015).

As observers have noted, the momentum has slowed over the past few bidding days. Experts from Wiley (Ari Meltzer and Rick Edelman) in a note said that “After more than 65 rounds of bidding over 16 days, bidders seem to be finalising their demand in the C-band auction (Auction 107). Gross proceeds have reached an FCC record of $80.510 billion, far exceeding the previous record of $44.899 billion set during the AWS-3 Auction (Auction 97) in 2014/2015. Bidders have placed bids on all licences, and average prices for the blocks in the largest US markets seem to have been determined.”

However, they also cautioned It is impossible to know how many more rounds this auction will continue: “We note that Auctions 102, 103 and 105 finished in 91, 104 and 75 rounds respectively. With demand for 134 excess blocks spread across 35 markets, it does not appear that the end is yet imminent. Furthermore, prices in many of the competitive markets remain below averages for similarly sized markets.”

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