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Massive US Wireless-Spectrum Auction Opens with Huge Bids

After 32 rounds of bidding, offers by mobile-service providers in what is shaping up to be a massive auction of US wireless spectrum licenses have reached $36.4 billion. This far surpasses the minimum $10.07 billion the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said it will accept before distributing licenses. The ongoing auction is for licenses to use the AWS-3 spectrum band—frequencies between 2155 and 2175 MHz—in various parts of the US. The spectrum is typically utilized for cellular-telephone and Internet services and other types of fixed and mobile communications. Carriers have expressed particular interest in using the available spectrum to bolster high-speed LTE networks in major cities such as New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago. The FCC doesn’t release the identity of bidders until the auction ends in a few weeks, but participants reportedly include most of the major national and some regional telecommunications providers. Notably, though, national carrier Sprint isn’t taking part. Some of the auction proceeds will be used to create the $7 billion FirstNet (First Responder Network Authority), a national broadband network for first responders to disasters and emergencies. The US government will use other proceeds to decrease its budget deficit. Industry observers note that the high bids in the current auction may be a sign of things to come in future similar events. (re/Code)(Fierce Wireless)(CTIA-The Wireless Association Blog)(The United States Federal Communications Commission)

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