tmobile tower

It’s not surprising that T-Mobile was the big winner in Auction 108 of spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band. With T-Mobile holding vast amounts of spectrum in the band, the spectrum was way more valuable to that company than to anyone else. But we didn’t necessarily think the company would win 91% of all licenses sold (7,156 out of 7,872).

T-Mobile will pay $304.3 million for its licenses, representing about 71% of the total auction proceeds of between $427 million and $428 million. Most of the spectrum that was available in the auction is in rural areas.

Verizon, bidding as Cellco Partnership, won 12 licenses. Neither AT&T nor Dish, bidding as Carbonate Wireless, won any. And only one company other than T-Mobile won more than 100 licenses. The North American Catholic Educational Programming Foundation won 107.

T-Mobile Dominates 2.5 GHz Auction

The next three of the top five winning bidders, measured by the number of licenses won, are all relatively small companies – Evergy Kansas Central, LICT Wireless Broadband Company and Broadband One of the Midwest.

The second through fifth companies on the list of top winning bidders, measured by amount bid, is also comprised of relatively small companies – PTI Pacifica, followed by TeleGuam Holdings, Evergy Kansas Central and Cellular South. And no companies other than T-Mobile are set to pay more than $20 million for the spectrum that they won.

The licenses in Auction 108 will be issued on a county-wide basis – an approach that was intended to make it easier for small companies to win. In that regard, the auction was relatively successful. There were 63 winning bidders out of 82 that qualified to bid – considerably more than we have seen in other recent auctions where licenses were for larger partial economic areas (PEAs), which are comprised of numerous counties.

Up to three licenses – ranging in size from 1.7 MHz to 50 MHz – were available per county. The vast majority of licenses available had winning bids.

AT&T and Dish were among the companies that qualified to bid, but apparently either didn’t bid or dropped out.

A full list of auction bidders and licenses won can be found at this link.

The auction was completed earlier this week, but winners were not announced until today.

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