At the end of the 45th round yesterday, total bids in the ongoing 700 MHz auction surpassed the $19 billion mark as reserve prices were met for all blocks but one—the 10 MHz D-block, which has been earmarked for a nationwide wireless broadband network to be shared by commercial and public safety entities. Although bids for Block E reached the reserve price of $903 million in Round 44, bids for Block D have gone no higher than the opening bid of $472 million posted in the first round. If no bidder comes forward to offer the Block D reserve price of $1.33 billion, the FCC may decide to auction it again with a lower reserve and with more lenient conditions that relate to network build-out. Signaling that bidding activity has begun to slow down, the FCC implemented Stage 2 rules that require participants to continue bidding at least 95% of the time to retain full eligibility. Under FCC rules, failure to maintain the required level of activity during the second stage “will result in the use of an activity rule waiver or, if the bidder has no . . . waivers remaining, a reduction in the bidder’s bidding eligibility in the next round.” The FCC will also increase the bidding rounds from five to six daily, starting today. Analysts predict that the auction will wrap up by the end of this month.
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700 MHz auction total swells to $19.1 billion, as bidding remains stagnant for D-block
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