PAL Auction: 70 Mhz of Spectrum, Almost $4.6B in Proceeds

It’s a wrap.  One of the largest and most ambitious spectrum auctions in U.S. history has come to a close this week. After 76 rounds, with participation from 271 bidders, the proceeds from the PAL Auction amount to over $4.5 Billion.

As we await the FCC Public Notice officially announcing the end of the auction and the winners, I wanted to provide my initial thoughts on the key indicators that the results represent.

  • The wide participation across market segments that don’t normally participate in spectrum auctions, including Cable, WISP, Energy and Enterprise, is an absolute validation of the shared spectrum model and its capacity to create a vibrant expanded wireless market.
  • Garnering nearly $4.6B in proceeds for 70 MHz of spectrum, which is slightly above ~$0.20/MHz-pop, demonstrates market confidence that the sharing technology embodied in the SAS/ESC will allow for full use of the spectrum. It’s important to note that this outcome is in line with global pricing for this band.
  • The bidding across geographies, resulting in 91% of 22,631 available licenses sold, confirms that the county-based approach worked in supporting multiple users in different geographies. It wasn’t too complicated. Money was not left on the table. Importantly, any licenses that weren’t purchased can still foster economic growth through sharing under General Authorized Access.
  • This lays the groundwork for a robust secondary license market. PAL holders who don’t immediately need all the capacity they purchased can use the same dynamic SAS technology that manages the spectrum to securely lease their licenses to other users – a further demonstration of the efficiency offered through spectrum sharing technology.

So what’s next? The FCC will release a public notice in a few days providing detailed auction results, including the names of the PAL Auction winners along with the procedures needed for the prompt issuance of licenses. We’ll be watching this FCC Auction 105 site closely, and I’m sure you will.

In the meantime, I’m thrilled with the outcome. This is the single largest economic validation of the shared spectrum market opportunity to date. With GAA deployments growing exponentially each week, we look forward to adding PAL management, including license leasing, to our service.

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