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Friday, April 21, 2006

Final AWS Auction Rules Published in Today's Federal Register

The rules for the upcoming AWS auction, which the FCC adopted at its April 12 meeting, are published in today's Federal Register. The auction of licenses in the 1710-1755 MHz and 2110-2155 MHz bands, used mostly for mobile wireless services, is scheduled to begin on June 29, 2006. The FCC's final bidding rules are a departure from past auctions. To address concerns that some bidders may have colluded in the past, the FCC adopted "blind bidding" rules. That means that the identity of bidders will be kept secret following each round of the auction unless certain competitive auction thresholds are met. Under the new blind bidding approach, the FCC will disclose at the end of each round of bidding the gross amount of every bid placed but not the identity of the bidder. The rules are designed to prevent bidders from signaling each other or from coordinating bids. This also is the first auction subject to the Commercial Spectrum Enhancement Act, which requires that auction proceeds must be sufficient (at least 110 percent) of estimated relocation costs of eligible federal entities. The winning bids for this auction must total at least $2.06 billion for the FCC to close the auction and award the licenses.

Ross Buntrock

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