The FCC’s AWS-3 auction continues to add up as the bid total now sits at $40.85 billion after the completion of 50 rounds.
With the amount of new bids coming in with each round slowing down, the FCC today made changes to the bidding process. Now each auction day will entail six 30-minute bidding rounds instead of the previous four one-hour rounds. That reduces the total bidding time allowed each day from four hours to three.
The FCC said in an announcement that it “sets the pace of the auction based upon the bidding activity and our assessment of the auction’s progress.”
As the auction revenue continues to rise for the 65 MHz of unpaired and paired AWS spectrum the FCC has up for grabs, some analysts are wondering if the accelerating need for LTE airwaves is the cause for driving up prices.
BTIG analyst Walter Piecyk said that Verizon has confirmed that it’s begun refarming PCS spectrum previously used for 3G and deployed LTE on it, effectively kicking off its third LTE deployment in addition to its substantially completed 700 MHz deployment and its ongoing AWS deployment. Piecyk wrote in a blog post that Verizon’s move into PCS just one year after starting its AWS LTE deployment began could be an indicator of why the AWS-3 airwaves up for auction are being valued so highly.
A Verizon spokeswoman said refarming the PCS spectrum for LTE has always been the plan but declined to comment on any specific commercial deployment.
Even with the new bidding rules in place, AWS-3 auction revenues will keep going up as long as new bids keep coming in.