Notice and Filing Requirements, Minimum Opening Bids, Upfront Payments, and Other Procedures for Auctions 101 (28 GHz) and 102 (24 GHz)

(Bidding in Auction 101 Scheduled to Begin November 14, 2018)

Public Notice – AU Docket No. 18-85

On August 3, 2018, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) released the Public Notice announcing application and bidding procedures for the upcoming auctions of Upper Microwave Flexible Use Service (“UMFUS”) licenses in the 28 GHz and 24 GHz bands.  The Public Notice establishes two separate auctions to offer UMFUS licenses: 3,072 county-based licenses in the 28 GHz band in Auction 101 and 2,912 PEA-based licenses in the 24 GHz band in Auction 102. Auction 101 will employ the standard simultaneous multiple round auction format and Auction 102 will use a clock auction format similar to the forward auction of the Broadcast Incentive Auction.  The Public Notice further establishes two separate application windows for the auctions which will run concurrently in order to allow the Commission to proceed as quickly as possible to Auction 102 after the close of Auction 101.  UMFUS licenses will likely be used for fifth generation (“5G”) services but may also be used for traditional point-to-point services.

In order to be qualified to bid in either auction, applicants will need to submit a timely filed and complete short-form application, a sufficient upfront payment and a complete and accurate FCC Form 159. The Commission adopts a tiered approach for upfront payments under which amounts vary by market population.  Under this approach, county-based licenses and generic blocks that fall within PEAs 1-50 will be based on $0.001 per MHz/pop; for licenses and generic blocks in PEAs 51-100, upfront payments will be based on $0.0002 per MHz/pop; and for all other licenses and generic blocks, upfront payments will be based on $0.0001 per MHz/pop.  A list of the upfront payments and minimum opening bids by license is available at https://www.fcc.gov/file/14281/download (see Columns K & L). All upfront payments must be made by wire transfer to be deposited in the U.S. Treasury.  Every payment submitted must be accompanied by a completed FCC Form 159.  The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (the “Bureau”) released detailed instructions for submitting FCC Form 159 for Auction 101 along with the final Public Notice, which are available on the Auction 101 website (www.fcc.gov/auction/101) under the “Education” tab. The Bureau is expected to release detailed instructions for FCC Form 159 for Auction 102 after the close of bidding in Auction 101.  Like previous auctions, the Commission will prohibit certain communications set forth in Section 1.2105(c) of the Commission’s rules, such as bids or bidding strategies, across both auctions.  Additionally, the Commission adopts the proposed $25 million cap on total amount of bidding credits for eligible small businesses and $10 million cap on total amount of bidding credits for eligible rural service providers.

Bidding in Auction 101 for the 28 GHz band is scheduled to begin on November 14, 2018.  Bidding for licenses in the 24 GHz band in Auction 102 is scheduled to begin after the conclusion of bidding in Auction 101.  See below charts for a list of all relevant dates and deadlines announced in the Public Notice.  Please note that the remainder of the dates and deadlines in Auction 102 are to be announced in a later public notice.

If you have any questions, or would like assistance with this process, please contact Dee Herman at dee@hermanwhiteaker.com, Clare Liedquist at cliedquist@hermanwhiteaker.com, or Molly O’Conor at moconor@hermanwhiteaker.com.

AUCTION 101
Date Action
August 28, 2018 Auction Application Tutorial Available (via Internet)
September 5, 2018

[12:00 PM ET]
Short-Form Application (FCC Form 175) Filing Window Opens
September 18, 2018

[6:00 PM ET]
Short-Form Application (FCC Form 175) Filing Window Deadline
October 23, 2018

[6:00 PM ET]
Upfront Payments (via wire transfer) and FCC Remittance Advice Form (FCC Form 159)
No later than

November 1, 2018

Bidding Tutorial Available (via Internet)
November 8, 2018 Mock Auction
November 14, 2018 Bidding Begins in Auction 101
AUCTION 102
Date Action
August 28, 2018 Auction Application Tutorial Available (via Internet)
September 5, 2018

[12:00 PM ET]
Short-Form Application (FCC Form 175) Filing Window Opens
September 18, 2018

[6:00 PM ET]
Short-Form Application (FCC Form 175) Filing Window Deadline
TBA Upfront Payments (via wire transfer) and FCC Remittance Advice Form (FCC Form 159)
TBA Mock Auction
TBA Bidding Begins in Auction 102