US Cellular was one a top bidder in both millimeter wave auctions
AT&T dropped nearly a billion dollars on 24 GHz spectrum in the recent Federal Communications Commission auction, and T-Mobile US was close behind in spending more than $800 million on 24 GHz. Verizon focused on 28 GHz, where it spent more than half a billion on airwaves.
AT&T’s winning bids in the 24 GHz mmWave auction totaled $982.4 million. T-Mobile US was the second-larger spender in the 24 GHz auction, putting up $803 million to take home more than 1,300 licenses, and also spent nearly $39.3 million in the 28 GHz auction on 865 licenses in 864 markets. Verizon, meanwhile had winning bids of about $506 million on 1,066 28 GHz licenses in 863 markets, but only about $15 million on 24 GHz spectrum in less than 10 markets.
Sprint’s bidding entity, ATI Sub LLC, was a qualified bidder but did not end up purchasing any spectrum.
The FCC’s two millimeter wave auctions held so far this year raised more than $2.7 billion in gross bids for more than 5,800 spectrum licenses from a total of 55 bidders. The results for both auctions were posted yesterday; the winners from the 28 GHz auction, which was completed in January, were not released until after the 24 GHz auction wrapped up.
US Cellular used both of the mmWave auctions to bolster its mmWave spectrum position and spent about evenly between the two, putting $129 million into the 28 GHz auction for 408 licenses in 362 markets and more than $126 million in the 24 GHz auction to win 282 licenses.
Other notable winning bidders included Dish Network, which spent about $2.9 million in the 28 GHz auction on 49 licenses in 38 markets, and about $11.8 million in the 24 GHz auction on 22 licenses. Windstream bought 106 28 GHz licenses in 106 markets for about $6.2 million but put more into the 24 GHz auction, spending $20.4 million on 116 licenses.
Wi-Fi-based fixed wireless broadband provider Starry bought 104 licenses at 24 GHz for about $48.5 million. The company, which utilizes mmWave bands for its service, has major expansion plans for its service.
The FCC plans to auction additional millimeter wave spectrum in December: the upper 37 GHz, 39 GHz, and 47 GHz bands. The agency has said that spectrum auction will be the largest one in U.S. history.