The FCC has released the winners in Auction 103 of 5G millimeter wave spectrum in the 37 GHz, 39 GHz and 47 GHz bands, and it looks like the nation’s largest mobile carriers won the vast majority of the spectrum. The auction raised a total of more than $7.5 billion.
Auction 103 Winners
The largest winner was Straight Path Spectrum LLC, which won 4,940 out of 14,142 licenses won and which appears to be a bidding name for Verizon. The second largest winner was Fiber Tower Spectrum Holdings, LLC, which won 3,267 licenses and which appears to be a bidding name for AT&T.
Following those two winners were Window Wireless LLC, which won 2,651 licenses and which may be a bidding name for DISH Network, and T-Mobile License LLC, which won 2,384 licenses.
Sprint bid under the name ATI Sub LLC but won only 127 licenses.
Neither AT&T nor Dish immediately responded to an inquiry from Telecompetitor asking them to confirm their spectrum winnings or bidding entity identities. A Verizon spokesman declined to answer the question, stating that he could not answer because the company was still subject to anti-collusion rules.
Only two other companies won more than 100 licenses. They were U.S. Cellular Corp., which won 237 licenses and Monarch Wireless, LLC, which won 173 licenses.
There were 21 other Auction 103 winners, which included smaller mobile and fixed wireless providers, including Windstream, which won 32 licenses. That company has been bullish on fixed wireless, particularly in the millimeter wave bands, where the company expects to be able to provide gigabit speed service.
The clock phase of Auction 103 was completed in late January, at which point it had already raised about $7.5 billion. The bidding continued in an assignment phase, in which winners bid for specific spectrum blocks within the auctioned bands, but the additional money raised was marginal.
Millimeter wave spectrum supports the highest speeds but over relatively short distances. Some critics argue that the U.S. has put too much emphasis on freeing up millimeter wave spectrum for 5G and not enough emphasis on mid-band spectrum, which some stakeholders see as offering the optimum mixture of speed and coverage.
Nevertheless, all but two of the 14,144 licenses that were available in Auction 103 had winning bids.
A complete list of Auction 103 winners can be found at this link.
Update- An AT&T spokesperson got back to us to say “We are still subject to the FCC’s quiet period rules, but we can tell you we’re happy with the results of the auction. We’ll have more to share once the quiet period ends.”