Auction 108 for Overlay Licenses in the 2.5 GHz Band to Begin July 29, 2022 H&W To Host a Free Auction 108 Webinar on March 30, 2022

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) has released a Public Notice establishing the dates, application and bidding procedures for Auction 108. Auction 108 is scheduled to begin on July 29, 2022 and will include approximately 8,000 new flexible-use, county-based overlay licenses in the following three channel blocks of unassigned 2.5 GHz spectrum: 49.5 megahertz (category 1), 50.5 megahertz (category 2), and 17.5 megahertz (category 3). The Short-Form Application (“Form 175”) filing window will open on April 27, 2022 at 12:00 p.m. ET and close on May 10, 2022 at 6:00 p.m. ET. Upfront payments will be due on June 23, 2022 by 6:00 p.m. ET and a mock auction will take place on July 26-27, 2022.

The FCC will use a “clock-1” auction format which is similar to the clock phase of past Commission auctions, however, it will offer only a single frequency-specific license identified by category and county. Bidding will be conducted simultaneously for all licenses available. For each bidding round, the system will indicate a clock price for each license and bidders will indicate their demand for licenses at the prices associated with the round. Bidding will continue until the number of bidders demanding each license does not exceed one for all licenses. The winners of the overlay licenses will be required to protect the operations of incumbent licensees within the auctioned areas, including those that received licenses through the Rural Tribal Priority Window.

Bidding credits will be available to eligible small businesses and rural service provider as follows:

Small Business Bidding Credit: a bidder that qualifies as a “small business”—i.e., one with attributed average annual gross revenues that do not exceed $55 million for the preceding five years—is eligible to receive a 15% discount on its overall payment.
Very Small Business Bidding Credit: a bidder that qualifies as a “very small business”—i.e., one with attributed average annual gross revenues that do not exceed $20 million for the preceding five years—is eligible to receive a 25% discount on its overall payment.
Rural Service Provider Bidding Credit: a bidder that qualifies as a rural service provider—i.e., (1) be a service provider that is in the business of providing commercial communications services and, together with its controlling interests, affiliates, and the affiliates of its controlling interests, has fewer than 250,000 combined wireless, wireline, broadband, and cable subscribers; and (2) serve predominantly rural areas—is eligible to receive a 15% discount on its overall payment.

The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and the Office of Economics and Analytics also released a mapping tool, accessible at https://www.fcc.gov/auction/108, for prospective bidders to assess where there is unassigned 2.5 GHz spectrum available in a country.

Herman & Whiteaker will also be hosting a free webinar on the upcoming auction with David Fritz from Nokia, George Woodward from Alpina Capital and H&W’s Clare Andonov and Dee Herman, at 11 a.m. ET Wednesday, March 30, 2022. Please register for the webinar here.

If you have any questions, or are interested in participating in Auction 108, please contact Dee Herman at [email protected] or Clare Liedquist Andonov at [email protected]