Nearly 20 Competitive Carriers Association members urged the FCC to schedule an auction of the 2.5 GHz band. The Commission adopted rules for the 2.5 GHz band two years ago and proposed procedures to auction the spectrum nine months ago.
“Our companies’ networks are being asked to handle even more traffic that can be supported by 2.5 GHz spectrum,” say the companies in a letter to FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. The companies, including C Spire, Carolina West Wireless and Northwest Missouri Cellular, point out that many of the licenses the agency will auction in the 2.5 GHz band cover rural and underserved areas.
“Because the licenses will be offered on a county basis, there is a real opportunity for smaller entities, like our companies, to win those licenses at auction,” they note. The CCA members favor simultaneous multiple round or “SMR” bidding. They say the Commission should not use “the untested single-round-pay-as-bid” procedures, which have “substantial flaws” they believe would have particularly negative impacts on small, rural carriers. “That is critical because there is little public information on the value of this spectrum, especially the value assigned by small companies, so it will be hard to know what a winning bid will be until we see others’ bids,” the CCA members stress.
“Price discovery is also important because the licenses in the 2.5 GHz auction are unique due to different levels of incumbency – even within markets. While we may be able to guess at license values, that’s all bids would be, and those guesses could result in significant underbidding or overbidding, meaning we could lose out on some important licenses while winning others not as important,” the CCA members emphasize. They believe such results could be avoided by the price discovery available in an SMR auction.