The FCC said late last week that 35 companies have qualified to bid in Auction 103 of millimeter wave spectrum in the 37 GHz, 39 GHz and 47 GHz bands that is scheduled to begin December 10. Qualified bidders include large and small mobile service providers, as well as companies that don’t provide mobile service but instead are likely to use the spectrum for fixed wireless deployments.

The news follows an FCC announcement last month that 29 companies had submitted complete applications to participate in the auction and 10 had submitted incomplete applications. All but two of the companies that had submitted incomplete applications have now submitted complete ones and all 35 companies announced today have submitted a sufficient upfront payment and all required certifications. Two companies that initially submitted complete applications apparently did not provide all required certifications or upfront payments.

Auction 103 Bidders
Major carriers sometimes bid under the less familiar names of their subsidiaries, making it difficult in some cases to determine who has qualified to bid, and carriers often don’t respond to media inquiries about their plans to participate. Nevertheless, it appears that all four nationwide carriers will be participating.

Confirmed bidders, according to the list released by the FCC, include T-Mobile and Sprint, which is bidding under the name of its ATI Sub LLC subsidiary. Verizon apparently is bidding under the name Straight Path Spectrum, although the company did not confirm that. And AT&T told Light Reading last month that it would be participating in the auction, although the blog post didn’t indicate AT&T’s bidding moniker.

Also on the confirmed bidders list are U.S. Cellular and Windstream. The latter initially submitted an incomplete application but is now approved to bid.

Windstream is likely to use any spectrum it may win to provide fixed wireless service, as the company has said that it expects to support gigabit speeds using fixed wireless in the millimeter-wave band.

According to rules adopted in July, spectrum in Auction 103 will be made available on a partial economic area (PEA) basis. Licenses will be for 100-MHz blocks of spectrum.

A complete list of Auction 103 qualified bidders can be found here. The companies that didn’t qualify are listed here.

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