The big picture: The Federal Communications Commission this week announced the winners of its recent 3.5GHz band auction, which offered the largest number of spectrum licenses ever in a single FCC auction. Verizon and Dish shelled out big time while AT&T and T-Mobile were mostly inactive, likely building their war chest for the C-band auction later this year.
The auction, which began on July 23 and wrapped up on August 25, offered 70 megahertz of Priority Access Licenses (PALs) in the 3550-3650 MHz band. In total, the auction generated $4,585,663,345 from 228 bidders who won a total of 20,625 licenses.
Verizon Wireless was the biggest spender in the auction, agreeing to license $1,893,791,991 worth of spectrum. Dish Network, bidding as Wetterhorn Wireless LLC, committed to $912,939,410 in exchange for 5,492 PALs.
Charter, bidding as Spectrum Wireless Holdings, XF Wireless Investment / Comcast and Cox Communications rounded out the top five with total bids of $464,251,209, $458,725,900 and $212,805,412, respectively.
Curiously enough, AT&T didn’t participate in the auction and T-Mobile only picked up a handful of licenses. Mark Lowenstein, managing director of Mobile Ecosystem, believes AT&T and T-Mobile might be saving their ammunition for the C-band auction scheduled for December.
The FCC said winning bidders have until September 17 to submit a down payment totaling 20 percent of their winning bid(s). Full payment is due by October 1, 2020.