FCC Set To Auction Remaining Broadband PCS Licenses on May 16, 2007
The FCC has scheduled a new auction, Auction 71, for broadband Personal Communications Service (“PCS”) licenses which were either unsold at previous auctions or were cancelled by the FCC and recovered from earlier licensees. The auction is scheduled to begin on May 16, 2007.
In total, 38 wireless licenses will be available in Auction 71 for spectrum in the 1.8 and 1.9 GHz bands in different parts of the country. Specifically, certain 10 and 15 MHz spectrum blocks (paired 5 and 7.5 MHz channels) will be auctioned in Basic Trading Area (BTA) or Major Trading Area (MTA) licenses. BTAs divide the United States into approximately 500 regional blocks and MTAs break the nation down into 51 areas, providing for much larger geographic blocks than BTA licenses. Attached for reference is a chart listing all of the licenses that will be auctioned along with information concerning BTA /MTA status, population, amount of spectrum and exact frequencies associated with each license. The attachment also includes certain auction specific information such as the proposed amount of the upfront payment required to bid on each license and the proposed minimum opening bid for each.
Most of the licenses in this auction will be available to any applicant regardless of size, but certain licenses will be available only to applicants that qualify for “entrepreneur” status under the Commission’s rules (applicants generally with less than $125 million in average gross revenues and less than $500 million in total assets). Those licenses that are limited to entrepreneurs are classified as “closed” under the column in the attachment labeled “Open/Closed”.
By way of background, PCS spectrum is used to provide cell phone service by all national mobile service providers. As you know, recently a consortium of cable operators (Comcast, Time Warner, Cox, Advance/Newhouse) acquired spectrum licenses in markets across the county in order to ensure that the mobile communications needs of cable customers can be met in the future. As demand for mobile communications continues to grow, including the delivery of content to mobile devices, we expect interest in PCS and other wireless licenses to similarly increase.
If you have any questions or wish to discuss available spectrum in this auction, please let us know.