Round 5 Auction Proceeds Up by $59 Million

Demand remains strong in small and mid-sized markets
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WASHINGTON—The Federal Communications Commission added another $59 million in auction proceeds after Round 5 concluded Monday afternoon. Bidding reached more than $18.4 billion at the close of the round—around $700 million up from first round bids. Round 6 will commence at 10 a.m. Eastern on Tuesday, Jan. 24.

The auction will conclude when demand no longer exceeds supply, which it did in 191 wireless licensing areas, referred to as “partial economic areas” or PEAs, after Round 4 bidding ended. Demand continues to be highest in small to mid-sized PEAs. It came up highest in Pendleton, Ore. (PEA No. 297) after Round 4, at 12-to-four. Corpus Christi, Texas (No. 132) was next at 11-to-four.

Among the PEAs where demand outpaced supply, spectrum was priciest in Chicago (No. 3), the largest market still in play, at a Round 6 opening price of $144.8 million. Next was Cleveland, (No. 14) at $25.2 million. Of smaller markets with more costly spectrum, Winchester, Va., (No. 103) ranked at the top at nearly $4 million.

The smallest market still in play was the U.S. Virgin Islands, No. 414 out of a total of 416 PEAs. Spectrum there was Round 6 opening priced at $350,000 per paired spectrum blocks referred to by the FCC as “product.” Product in Guam (No. 413) was considerably cheaper at $53,000 per.

Moberly, Mo., (No. 367) stood out among small markets for having a Round 6 opening product price of $914,000 for unreserved spectrum and $828,000 for reserved spectrum—a nationwide set-aside of 30 MHz for wireless bidders with minimal low-band spectrum holdings. Just 25 miles up Highway 63 from Moberly, Macon, Mo. (No. 393), was priced at $483,000 for unreserved spectrum and $438,000 for reserved spectrum. Hannibal, Mo., (No. 385) 60 or so miles east of Macon and about 115 miles north of St. Louis on the Mississippi River, also stood out at $404,000 for unreserved spectrum and $365,000 for reserved. By comparison, prices in markets between Moberly and Macon (PEA Nos. 367 to 393) ranged from $9,000 in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. (No. 379) to $81,000 in Ontario, Ore. (No. 391) $177,000 in McCook, Neb. (No. 389) and $291,000 in Colby, Kan. (No. 372).

Spectrum auction proceeds after each round in this, the fourth stage of the auction, are as follows:
Round 1: $17.7 billion
Round 2: $18,208,164,087
Round 3: $18,299,482,587
Round 4: $18,354,882,127
Round 5: $18,413,831,687