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Bidding for 700-MHz spectrum hits $3.7B in first two days

The bidding resumes Monday and lasts until no one else bids

January 25, 2008 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Bidding on the U.S. Federal Communications Commission's 700-MHz wireless spectrum wrapped up Friday with a total of $3.7 billion in high bids.

Only two of three planned rounds of online bidding were held today, with the final round canceled to allow time for computer system maintenance, FCC officials said. The bidding will resume with three rounds on Monday.

Bidding will continue every day until there are no more bidders for 1,099 separate licenses, meaning the process could last several more weeks, FCC officials said. Of those 1,099 licenses, bids have been entered on 921 of them.

The largest bid so far is for $1.792 billion for eight of 12 regional licenses in the C block that would serve all 50 states. That bid has been raised in each of the four rounds, and the FCC has set a reserve price of $4.6 billion in the C block, with the provision that the winners must allow any legal device to connect to a network in that block, following the FCC's intent that the block provide open access.

The second highest bid after four rounds was still for $472 million for the D block, a band of spectrum that would be pair with another band for public safety uses. That bid was first entered in the first round on Thursday.

All the bidding is anonymous, and the FCC has placed a gag order on bidders.

The auction is expected to raise at least $10 billion for the U.S. Treasury. The portions of spectrum have come on the market because TV broadcasters must move to digital signals in February 2009, vacating the analog spectrum now up for bids.

Read more about Mobile/Wireless in Computerworld's Mobile/Wireless Topic Center.

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