The Auction By The Numbers, Who Won What

Some 95 percent of all spectrum blocks were sold to wireless bidders, according to FCC officials. Speaking to reporters on Thursday, they said 2,776 license blocks sold out of a total of 2,912 offered. The remaining 136 spectrum licenses not sold revert back to the Commission which will likely re-auction them.

The top wireless winners were: T-Mobile, the largest bidder at nearly $8 billion, ParkerB.com Wireless, an affiliate of Dish Network was second at $6.2 billion, followed by CC Wireless Investment, an affiliate of Comcast at $1.7 billion and AT&T at $910 million. Verizon made a “small upfront” payment but ultimately did not bid, according to officials. The average price per MHz-pop sold nationwide as 93 cents; that bumped up to $1.31 in the top 40 Partial Economic Areas.

In the reverse auction, the largest individual payout of $304 million goes to Trinity Broadcasting Network’s WWTO(TV), Chicago and the largest payout of $194 million for a non-commercial station goes to New Jersey Public Television. Approximately 957 TV stations will change channels to clear the spectrum for wireless carriers, as opposed to the around 1,300 originally envisioned.  

Asked by Inside Towers how the repack plan accounts for that, Incentive Auction Task Force Deputy Chair Jean Kiddoo said: “We did assignments based on how stations will be re-packed, in 10 phases.” Task Force Chairman Gary Epstein added: “It’s good that [fewer] stations will have to be transitioned.” He characterized that as one of the overall goals of the agency.

“Today is day one of the 39-month transition,” Kiddoo told reporters. The next 90 days “are critical,” she added, noting that July 12 is the deadline for transitioning stations to file Construction Permit applications. Most of the winning TV stations have told the FCC they intend to channel-share rather than go off the air entirely. The first group of station moves will begin November 30, 2018.

April 14, 2017      

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