FCC raises $19.8 billion in broadcast incentive auction

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday announced the winners of its $19.8 billion spectrum auction. T-Mobile announced that they picked up 45% of the spectrum that was auctioned off, which is more than any other carrier in the auction.

Dish and Comcast also spent some money for licenses in the 600MHz auction, but it's unclear what they plan to do with it. Although Verizon participated in the auction under the name "Cellco Partnership", it did not win any bids.

The new spectrum (which refers to the range of frequencies used to wirelessly transmit data) will be very helpful to those companies, as they will use them to build out their wireless networks. Without low-band spectrum, it would be impossible to cover many regions of the US economically.

While it usually takes a significant amount of time to see the results of newly acquired spectrum, T-Mobile promises significant network expansion by the end of 2017.

The airwaves auction, which allowed broadcasters to repurpose their airwaves for mobile use, generated $19.8 billion in gross revenue for 70 MHz of spectrum. "If the [Verizon and AT&T] thought things were rough before-well, just wait!" The Congressional Budget Office in 2015 estimated that the current auction would bring in $10 billion to $40 billion, with an expected value of $25 billion, after TV station owners were paid. The auction, which began past year, was conducted over two major stages.

$10.05 billion - that's how much 175 broadcasters will be getting, total, from the auction.


"Consumers are the real beneficiaries, as broadcasters invest new resources in programming and service, and additional wireless spectrum opens the way to greater competition and innovation in the mobile broadband marketplace", FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said.

The road to Gigabit-class LTE and subsequently 5G seems to be a fierce one, and we look forward to seeing developments from competing carriers.

T-Mobile has made good on its promise to be the big victor in the 600Mhz low-band spectrum auction spending almost $8 billion to grab what the operator says is 45% of the total TV spectrum on offer.

T-Mobile now owns premium low-band spectrum that can cover every single American. With this purchase, T-Mobile has the room to begin changing that in a big way.

In February, Twenty-First Century Fox Inc's Fox Television unit (FOXA.O) said it would receive about $350 million in proceeds from spectrum sales. T-Mobile US had already almost equaled Verizon, the market leader, in the number of people in the USA covered with LTE by the end of 2016. Dish declined to comment.

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