FCC 700 MHz 'C-block' reserve price finally met

In what will certainly come as relief to advocates of open access rules for wireless services, someone this morning placed a bid for the jewel-in-the-crown "C-block" of spectrum just above the minimum reserve trigger price.

At approximately 11:00 am Eastern Time, the FCC's live auction database reported a bid during round 17 for the C-block of $4,713,823,000. That qualifies under FCC rules as a Potentially Winning Bid (PWB), over the $4.6 billion reserve price. This means if that ends up being the final bid, the winning bidder must promise to open any wireless services it offers on the C-block to the end user's choice of premise or handset equipment.

The identity of the high bidder, as of all bidders, is being kept secret. As of 11:30 am this morning, the minimum ask bid for round 18 is $5.27 billion.

The news remains bad for the D-block, however, to which is attached the stipulation that the winning bidder work with a public/private consortium to operate a first responders' network. Only one bid has been received there for $472 million, still below what was expected.

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