The tote board keeps adding up as CBRS auction proceeds passed the $4 billion mark less than three weeks after the auction started started. Momentum may be slowing though, as the move to $3 billion from $4 billion took longer than $2 billion to $3 billion.
The FCC has completed 45 rounds of Auction 105, which began on July 23 and has 271 qualified bidders. Gross proceeds as of August 14 were $4,111,866,935.
The structure of the auction is that seven 10 MHz slices of CBRS spectrum are being auctioned in each county. The FCC says that there are 79 counties in which demand is greater than supply, 2,158 where demand and supply are equal and 996 in which demand is less than supply.
The large CBRS auction proceeds may come as no surprise to some. The spectrum is considered mid-band, lying between 3550 and 3700 GHz, and mid-band spectrum has a mix of speed and coverage characteristics that make it attractive to a wide array of companies and industry niches.
The list starts with the big three wireless carriers, all of which qualified to bid. A variety of other entities, including smaller wireless carriers, cable operators, fixed wireless providers and wireline providers also qualified.
The attraction of the spectrum and the related auction grew even greater on August 10 when the Department of Defense said that 100 MHz of complementary mid-band spectrum between 3.45 GHz and 3.55 GHz will be made available for commercial use. The spectrum reportedly could be available for commercial use by the middle of 2022.
CBRS certainly is the place to be. Verizon could particularly be interested because it is light in mid-band holdings. Other firms, such as Windstream and Frontier, also have a lot to gain. They could use the spectrum to support fixed wireless, which offers fiber-like speeds but at far lower deployment costs.