wireless towerMore than 250 applicants have qualified to bid in Auction 105 of spectrum in the CBRS band, which is scheduled to start July 23. The full total of 271 qualified CBRS auction bidders includes all three nationwide wireless carriers AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon.

Additional qualified bidders include cable companies such as Cox; Tier 2 telcos such as Frontier and Windstream; and numerous smaller carriers, including mobile carriers, wireless internet service providers, telcos and cable companies.

The telcos and small cable companies are likely to use any spectrum winnings for fixed wireless services.

Telecompetitor counted 75 applicants that will receive rural bidding credits on a list included with an FCC public notice released yesterday, but there also were other rural CBRS auction bidders that either didn’t seek or didn’t qualify for credits.

Policymakers had hoped that the plan to auction CBRS priority access licenses (PALs) by county would attract small rural carriers and that approach seems to have worked. How extensively the rural carriers will win licenses remains to be seen. The CBRS band is considered mid-band spectrum, which is expected to see strong demand, as many industry observers see it providing the optimum mixture of speed and range.

A recent report from CoBank Knowledge argues that some rural CBRS licenses may be quite affordable. Researchers estimate that rural licenses will cost between $0.023 and $0.10 per MHz POP, which means that spectrum licenses per 10 MHz block for counties with populations of less than 10,000 could potentially go for less than $2,000.

CBRS auction bidders
Source: CoBank

Jennifer McCarthy, vice president of legal for Federated Wireless, and Kurt Schaubach, Federated chief technology officer, told Telecompetitor recently that they expect the CBRS auction to last at least two months and that deployments in the licensed portion of the band could begin before the end of the year. Federated is one of several administrators of spectrum access systems (SASs) that will enable CBRS spectrum to be shared with incumbent military users.

Service providers that don’t win licenses in Auction 105 will still have the option of using the unlicensed portion of the band on a shared basis with other users, and the SASs underpin that capability as well.

A list of the qualified CBRS auction bidders can be found at this link.

Initially, most of the entities that applied to participate in the auction submitted incomplete applications. While most of them have since resolved their issues, there were 77 applicants that didn’t qualify to participate in the auction. A list of those applicants can be found here.

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